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Largest Employer in Most Florida Counties, Flagler Included: Government

| May 16, 2012

A Taj Mahal of job creation, too. (© FlaglerLive)

A government entity is the largest employer in 51 of the state’s 67 counties, and in every county in Florida government is at least one of the top five largest employers, Florida TaxWatch reported in a study out Tuesday.

In Flagler County, government is by far the largest employer, with the school board’s 1,700 employees alone dwarfing the next-largest employer–Florida Hospital Flagler, which has about 1,000 employees. Palm Coast Data used to be the largest private employer, with about 1,000 employees, but it’s been bleeding workers, with large large lay-offs again hitting the company this month.

The study – which comes as Gov. Rick Scott has repeatedly argued that the state’s economic future depends on the health of private sector jobs, not government employment – also said that on average, nearly 4 out of 10 of the largest employers in any county around the state are a government entity.

In looking at the top 10 employers in the state’s 67 counties, TaxWatch did find that more of them – 425 of the 670 – were private companies or organizations, to just 245 that were federal, state, county or local government agencies. But the tops of those top 10 lists were dominated by government, with school systems being most notable, as they long have been in nearly every state, as the biggest job generators in local communities.

District school boards are either the number 1 or number 2 largest employer in 61 Florida counties.

“While this analysis does not consider the total size of government employment compared to total private employment, it is certainly clear that the government has a massive direct effect on local economies throughout the state through employment and payroll practices, in addition to the indirect effects that government actions, such as regulation, have on the economy,” TaxWatch said in the report. “Moreover, for many counties the potential closure of a military base or correctional facility, or large layoffs due to federal, state, or local budget shortfalls, poses a significant economic threat.

“Putting aside the roles public entities are assigned to fulfill, it is important that Floridians understand that for many of the largest employers in their county, their payrolls are paid by tax dollars,” the non-partisan Tallahassee-based group concluded.

The county most dependent on large government employers is Bay, which includes Panama City, thanks largely to the military. Seven out of the top ten employers in Bay County are government entities, led by Tyndall Air Force Base and the Naval Surface Warfare Center.

The military, while providing a large number of jobs in some counties, is actually in the top 10 of employers in only seven counties. The armed forces are the largest employer in Duval, Monroe, and Okaloosa, in addition to Bay.

Obviously, Leon County’s two largest employers – state government itself and Florida State University – are government entities. The Leon County schools are the third largest, and the city of Tallahassee, the county itself and Florida A&M University are also in the top 10 for the county.

State government agencies are in the top 10 in 15 other counties. The state Department of Corrections is the largest employer in Gulf and Holmes counties, and one of the top employers in several rural counties with large prisons, or in some cases more than one prison.

Northeast Florida State Hospital is the largest employer in Baker County and Florida State Hospital is the largest in Gadsden.

At the other end of the spectrum are counties where just one of the top ten employers is a government agency: Calhoun, Glades, and Levy counties. The school board is the largest employer in each county, but all other significant employers are private.

–David Royce, News Service of Florida

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6 Responses for “Largest Employer in Most Florida Counties, Flagler Included: Government”

  1. Anon says:

    If I could find a job in the private sector, I’d take it in a heartbeat. I’m sick of all the backlash I get for being a hard working public employee.

  2. palmcoaster says:

    The omen of this news is that if the administrators and elected local government officials do not stop frivolous spending, some of those lower tier employees will be the first to be laid off. I do not see job security for government workers unfortunately on this economy.
    Do we want the Matanzas I95 interchange now, or we want to preserve the jobs of our county workers?
    Do we want a millionaire lavish jail now or we want to preserve the jobs of our county workers?
    Do we want to give the old court house at a kings ransom cost for renovation to our Sheriff, or preserve the jobs of our county workers? Take your pick but ask your workers first.
    Stop non essential capital projects and wait till this economy recovers to do that, same with PC city hall. What are you all thinking? Here go see the 104 pages with 50 properties each that failed to pay the taxes that our local government needs to survive. Their tax certificates on the auction block. Listed properties: vacant, mobile homes, condos, homes, owned by the wealthy , lands owned by our hard working farmers… pathetic. Preview items for sale (tax cert) : Does anyone believe that our fellow residents are in arrears just because is fun?

  3. mike says:

    nanny state getting bigger and bigger along with the police state. the only people i know who drive nice cars and still live comfortably are government employed, which i think is more russian than american!
    land of the scared, home of the enslaved
    over 700 billion dollars going to enforce the ndaa for the next year

  4. another voice says:

    Gee, that’s funny–the only people I know who drive nice cars and still live comfortably work for banks.

    All the people I know who work for “government”–primarily teachers, folks who serve food in school cafeterias or enroll new students–are taken for granted, because of the steady drumbeat of propaganda and lies being spread by corporate-owned mouthpieces that Government is Bad.

    Government is not bad. It provides civilization. Without government, you would not have civilization.

    Government is not a business and was never meant to be a business. Anyone who tries to make you believe otherwise is WRONG.

    Stop listening to those who are wrong. These jobs employ your friends. Your neighbors. Your families. They provide food, clothing and shelter for many thousands of people. That is not a Bad Thing.

    What will we do when there is no government to provide civilization WITH? That isn’t going to make “private business” move in to take its place unless that private business is guaranteed a profit.

    That means the only place that will be able to afford civilization–if those who want to downsize government to the point of starvation–will be big cities.Want to live in the country? You better plan on taking care of yourself from now on. Paving your own roads. Fixing your own streetlights. Keeping your streets safe. If there aren’t enough people in the area to support a private business, that business will leave.

    Wake up..

  5. Liana G says:

    Anon, I can tell from reading your post that you are one of the needed ones – so thank you. But for every 1 of you, there are probably 10 whose jobs were created just so they can collect a salary. They either do nothing (except to occasionally show up for work to create an impression), or they are not qualified to do the job handed to them (we’ve a lot of those too). Happens in the private sector too, but since private sector employees are the tax generators, folks don’t complain too much.

    There are some jobs that gov’t must to do/ have to do. Look at the dysfunction we’ve created now that we’ve privatized our elections, the president, vice president, senators, members of congress, supreme- court justices, prisons, military, etc. Things are no longer functioning the way they should in a true democratic society. But we’re still a democracy because we are told so. The only institution that hasn’t been privatized yet and needs to be privatized is public education. Public education as it stands today is the root cause of all our dysfunction. IT created these monstrosities!

    I’m just glad that Flagler is republican governed. They’re supposed to be the party of small gov’t, though it is hard to tell them apart from democrats, the party of big gov’t. Imagine if THEY were in control!

  6. ric says:

    Civil employees should not be allowed to organize.. Look what has happened over the years with industries like auto, steal, oil, paper. Most of them are gone or were forcred to downsize.. Look around at the city, county and schools and tell me where the tax dollars and where we get the bang for the buck.

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