Secrets of the Job Hunt


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

74,700 Florida Jobs Lost in the Last Year

Jobs in Florida are disappearing more quickly than anywhere else in the nation. According the Miami Herald, Florida has lost in excess of 74,700 jobs in the last 12 months, which is more than any other state.

“We’re No. 1 in job losses. Absolutely,” said Frank Williams, chief economist with the Department of Revenue.

Clyde Diao, one of Gov. Charlie Crist’s economists, agrees. “We were No. 1 in jobs created in the entire county [in 2005]. Now, if you count the District of Columbia, we’re 51.” Both economist believe that these conditions will likely continue at least until next June, making this the most gloomy financial forecast for the state in years. Experts are predicting that by the end of the month, Florida’s job-loss rate will be higher than the nation’s for the first time since 2002.
At the root of the problem is the housing market slump. Currently the state is No. 2 in the nation for foreclosures, surpassed by only California. This has caused problems for both the financial services and construction industries.

Economists have projected that new housing construction will drop to approximately 60,000 units this year, which is a 78 percent decrease from 2005 when 283,000 new homes were built. Through out the state construction project spending, including that which will go towards public buildings, is expected to drop 21.5 percent to $10.6 billion.

Figures show that if it wasn’t for job gains in health and education and several low-paying services fields, then the recorded losses would be much greater. In the last year 77,000 construction jobs have been lost and 23,000 manufacturing positions.

Also declining is the amount of money employers are offering to workers. According to Amy Baker, chief of the Legislature’s Economic and Demographic Research agency, this year wages are expected to fall by 2.7 percent when compared to last budget year.

Despite this, Baker believes that signs of improvement are beginning to be show up. “We’re starting to see signs of things starting to stabilize in Florida-- at a very low level, not where we want to be,” she said. “But I think we’re seeing some hints, some very early hints, that things are stabilizing.”

As if to illustrate this, the state’s unemployment rate for June fell slightly. In May, 5.6 percent of the population was unable to find work. This fell by .1 percent last month, causing the state to have the same unemployment rate of 5.5 percent as is the national average.

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