That Florida unemployment remained steady during the month of June and added manufacturing jobs are positive signs, but according to researcher Emily Eisenhauer, jobs have been added in low-wage industries.
Eisenhauer, an associate at the Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy at Florida International University, says that Florida still has the fourth-highest unemployment rate in the U.S., but unemployment has come down over the last six months. The state has to add more than 85,000 jobs, but according to Eisenhauer, Florida is still missing about 700,000 jobs since the beginning of the recession in December 2007.
There is growth in a few sectors, but not economic activity across the board, Eisenhauer says. About 60 percent of jobs added have been in three industries: the accommodation and food industry, health care and social assistance, and administrative and waste services.
She adds that job growth in the administrative and waste services, which supports general business activity is positive because wages are not as low as in the accommodation and food services industry.
At the local level, Miami-Dade’s unemployment rate is one of the highest in the state. The Agency for Workforce Innovation report released last Friday indicates that the Miami-Dade unemployment rate is now 13.9 percent — up from 12.7 percent in June 2010.
The Workforce Innovation report (.pdf) adds that “the U.S. Chamber of Commerce last month recognized Florida as the top state in the nation for workforce training programs in its Enterprising States report, up from No. 2 the previous year.”
The Chamber’s “Enterprising States” (.pdf) explains that “a primary goal of any state economic development program is not only to increase the number of jobs in the state but to improve the quality of jobs and the overall prosperity of the state’s residents.”
“Enterprising States” reports that in other top performance categories such as growth (jobs, industry productivity, personal income growth), entrepreneurship and innovation, exports, taxes and regulation, and infrastructure, Florida is not among the top 10 in the nation. According to the study, Florida ranks 21st for Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics job growth and seventh for growth in middle-level education jobs.
Eisenhauer considers job growth a positive sign but adds that we need to watch where we are adding jobs.
“Leisure and hospitality make up a big portion of jobs added since January,” Eisenhauer adds, “and that is important because it is one of the lowest-wage sectors, and that is cause for concern because obviously jobs are needed, but we need to secure good jobs and good-paying jobs.”