The national economy, Florida’s and Flagler County’s might as well be the three twins of lethargy: all three economies are mirroring each other in fitful but anemic activity, adding some but mostly low-paying jobs as Florida’s unemployment rate remains at 7.1 percent for the third straight month, barely under the national rate of 7.4 percent, and Flagler’s continues in the low double digits, at 10.3 percent.
There were 665,000 officially unemployed Floridians in July. The figure does not include discouraged workers who have stopped looking for work, or under-employed workers who are holding part-time jobs because they couldn’t find full-time work, or because their hours were cut back. That figure is calculated by the U.S. Department of Labor as the so-called “U-6” alternative unemployment measure. Through the second quarter of 2013, Florida’s U-6 unemployment and under-employment rate was 15.1 percent, 12th-worst in the nation, and contrasting sharply with Gov. Rick Scott’s image of a state either on the mend or besting the national economy’s health. The national U-6 rate is 14 percent.
The national economy added just enough jobs last month to keep up with the natural rate of growth among job seekers. Florida added 27,600 jobs, not a bad showing relative to previous months, but still not the sort of job-creation momentum that could move the state. And what jobs are being added have little resemblance to those lost even as statewide employment is now above 8.765 million, and nearing its pre-recession level.
The upshot, an analysis of the post-recession workforce concluded in the Tampa Bay Times earlier this week: “Collectively, we’re earning less money with more people clustered in lower-paying jobs in retail, tourism and health care. There are more part-timers and workers combining a couple of part-time jobs into one full-time paycheck.”
What’s true in the state has been largely true in Flagler. Construction jobs–cut in half statewide, and by more than half in Flagler County–have been replaced by low-paying restaurant and other leisure or tourism-type jobs. The state lost 382,300 construction jobs overall during the Great Recession. That loss has yet to be dented for the better. But leisure and hospitality have added 110,000 jobs.
The most advertised occupations in Florida in June also reflect the sort of low-grade economy the state has been thriving on: registered nurses, retail sales, retail supervisors, customer service reps and first-line supervisors of food preparation workers.
In July, Flagler County’s labor force fell slightly, to 34,934 (a loss of 177), but the number of job-holders also fell, by 214, to 31,296, and the number of unemployment persons rose by 37, to 3,638.
Flagler County remains tied for second among counties with the worst unemployment rate in the state. It’s tied with St. Lucie, with Hendry in first. Putnam is in fourth place, with an unemployment rate of 10 percent. All other counties in the state have rates below double digits.
Within particular industries statewide, most sectors saw very modest job gains. The two biggest losing sectors by proportion were local government, which shed 6,700 jobs, or 0.9 percent of its workforce, and management of companies and enterprises, which shed 900 jobs, a 1.1 percent loss.
Building could not go on forever, the area is built out for now. It might be that the only way the unemployment rate will go down is if there is an out migration of those who are long term unemployed, former construction workers. We only need so many folks to cut grass and be handymen. I actually heard this suggested at state meeting regarding long term planning for social services. The remark was made by the then district director. Barring a sudden turn around in the economy and a switch back to the building boom, I think he was right.
50% or more of people cutting lawns are doing it without the proper business license sticker in the left corner of their windshield. They are probably collecting unemployment and food stamps as well. There will never be a “switchback to the building boom”. With the people that are in office, county and city wise continually blowing smoke up our asses, Flagler county is doomed !!!
I don’t know that Flagler is doomed. I think the real, long term economy here is retirement, residential and some tourism. We could use more high quality attractions like quality public golf courses. Make this a golf destination. It’s a bedroom and retirement community. Rampant Food Stamp and UC fraud for sure with the unlicensed lawn guys.
Doomed might be to strong of a word. Quality golf courses is not the answer either, it is not hard to get a tee-time on the courses that are operational; golf courses do not create jobs. Crime is rampant, the sheriffs office is just sitting around letting the red light cameras do their work; while liquor stores are continually robbed, cars are constantly being broken into, 2 school buses just disappeared, anyone heard anything about recovery of them. People are violating the speed limit all over town, the sheriffs answer is speed limit signs that they move all over town that tell you just how much over the speed limit you are going. The blow up sex toys that they put in abandoned sheriffs cars dispersed throughout the city. City code violations are also rampant. This department should be called Lack of code enforcement. Overgrown lawns are all over town, enclosed trailer as well as flatbed trailers are parked in driveways all over town. Boats are being stored in driveways instead of a storage facility. Commercial vehicles…….Any vehicle with more than 3 square feet of advertising, any vehicle with added ladder racks for ladders or cargo is in violation of the code, yet after 5 PM in any neighborhood; or all day on Sunday, you will find electrical, plumbing, cable television, painting, satellite television and various other commercial vehicles parked in a driveway which is illegal. My neighborhood looks like I live in a warehouse district, yet lack of code enforcement officers drive right by these violators every day. Who is going to want to move into a city that operates like this one; let alone NO JOBS !!!!!
I have had to live next to and across from RENTERS who do not give a rat’s pa-toot about their lawn or trash cans and newspapers not collected for 5 months laying all over their driveways. Grass so high its got tunnels were rats crawl out of. What happen to this city is BIG money during the BOOM years, greedy realtors and politicians robbing all the FOOLS who thought Palm Coast was going to stay a nice peaceful community………A couple more years and we will be in the same boat as Detroit !!!!
There are problems in PC but we drove down to Cocoa Beach to visit relatives who were touristing in that area. We are indeed fortunate in PC. The area is clean, it’s reasonably safe, it’s not over run by tourists, we have a strict building code, it’s not at all run down, it’s not congested, we have beautiful beaches and no strip clubs, adult bookstores or massage parlors. It will be nice to have more dining options soon. Just please PC, prevent us from becoming a run down dump like Cocoa Beach and Daytona. Having spent a day in the Cocoa Beach squalor, I really do appreciate Palm Coast. I think the new sheriff is doing a good job. They have been responsive if contacted. As far as jobs, this is primarily a retirement and bedroom community. There are a few professional jobs and plenty of service jobs. If someone wants a well paying job, do as I did before I retired again, commute. Golf courses would provide some jobs and attract the right kind of residents and tourists with $. I hate to be that way but this is not a manufacturing area, our strengths are natural beauty, climate and a safe environment.
Add me to the 10.3 percent says
What about those who’s unemployment has run out and they are still unemployed and those who are self employed that are out of business and those that don’t qualify for unemployment? Flagler is higher than 10.3% and you know it.
That’s because Code Enforcement is too busy looking at red light camera infractions in the office. A pet peeve for Landon. People asked Willie Sutton why he robbed banks? He said that’s where the money is. Landon knows Red Light cameras is where the money is. It’s such a shame that we have half of Code Enforcement Officers looking to stick a $158. fine to an illegal ponzi scheme rather than correct violations in this City. Demand accountability and ask Landon how many Code officers are assigned to view the cameras on a daily basis.