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Robert Trigaux

So... how many Florida businesses are really adding jobs this year? Whose spin to believe?




Yes, some of the jobs to be added by Florida businesses this year will include holding signs along busy streets. But it is a job. (Photo: Dirk Shadd, Tampa Bay Times.)

Wake up and good morning. A few new surveys are out suggesting a notable slice of smaller Florida businesses are planning to add jobs and anticipate bigger sales this year. Sounds good. How real are these findings?

The ever optimistic Florida Chamber of Commerce issued its survey findings that say nearly 40 percent of small business owners plan to add jobs within the next six months. That's up 7 percent from a survey taken in July 2011. Curiously, the same survey offers more sobering data that somehow got left out of the headlines. While 34 percent of the respondents believe their business is better off today than six months ago, 45 percent say economic uncertainty is preventing them from hiring new employees. That comes directly from the Chamber's survey release here.

Pittsburgh's PNC Bank, still getting its feet wet in the Florida market, issued a survey saying 18 percent of Florida business owners plan to hire full-time employees within the next six months. That's up from 11 percent in the fall of 2011 and the highest percentage since 2010. Read more from the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Notably, 28 percent of business nationwide plans to add jobs compared to that 18 percent figure for Florida. Here is PNC's national survey, from which the Florida findings are drawn.

So... one survey indicates nearly 40 percent will add jobs and another survey says 18 percent. Hey, I'm delighted anybody is adding jobs in the coming months but that's a big, big gap between 18 and 40 percent. Now I am sure there are statistical margins of error galore in both surveys, and one survey may focus more on small businesses. But it does not help the forecasting world's credibility when two surveys produce such different reads on the Florida economy.

Personally, based on what I hear in wandering the business scene, I'm thinking PNC is more on point.

To be clear, things are getting better. It's all about measuring the pace. One interesting survey of career experts at a dozen U.S. colleges found a 15-to-30 percent increase in the number of companies attending campus career fairs. At the University of Florida, for example, 15 percent more corporations showed up at the 2011 fall career fair than attended in 2010. Read more from Reuters here.

-- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, Tampa Bay Times


[Last modified: Friday, April 6, 2012 7:46am]


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