Make us your home page
Instagram

State researchers: Florida unemployment would be 9.8 percent if not for labor pool dropouts

A shrinking workforce — not job creation — accounts for 91 percent of the drop in Florida's unemployment rate so far this year, according to new projections from state economists.

Florida's unemployment rate dropped from 9.9 percent in December to 8.8 percent in July. The rate, however, would be little changed at 9.8 percent if not for a substantial number of people dropping out of the labor force, according to the Florida Legislature's Office of Economic and Demographic Research.

Economists believe many of those dropouts are not retirees or disabled, but discouraged workers who have only temporarily given up searching for work. When they return to their job hunt, it would invariably drive up competition and, presumably, the unemployment rate.

The theme is a recurring one for the legislative office. Earlier this summer, the office estimated that roughly 70 percent of the drop in Florida's unemployment rate was attributed to the shrinking labor pool.

Wednesday's report provides more fodder for those who contend Florida's jobs recovery this year under Gov. Rick Scott has been overstated. Scott has repeatedly touted his efforts at job creation and bringing down Florida's unemployment rate at a faster pace than the national jobless rate.

The August unemployment report is scheduled to be released Sept. 21.

The jobs snapshot was included in a long-range financial outlook released Wednesday. Among other highlights, the demographic researchers forecast:

• Population growth will continue to fuel economic recovery, but growth will average just 1.2 percent over the next three years, far shy of the 3 percent-plus growth between 1970 and 1995. More than half of the newcomers to Florida (about 57 percent) will be at least 60 years old.

• With the average foreclosure taking 861 days to wind through the system, Florida's housing recovery will still be labored. Nearly half of all mortgage loans are for homes in which the owners owe more than the property is worth.

• Credit conditions remain tight, with roughly 93 percent of loan officers surveyed telling the Federal Reserve that their credit standards are basically unchanged.

• The state's general revenue is projected to grow near or just below 5 percent over the next three years.

• A severe hurricane season, a financial collapse in the eurozone or a congressional standoff over a year-end "fiscal cliff" deadline to reach an agreement on spending cuts could all threaten forecasts. But the research office classified those scenarios as "Black Swan" events with "low probability."

Jeff Harrington can be reached at (727) 893-8242 or jharrington@tampabay.com.

State researchers: Florida unemployment would be 9.8 percent if not for labor pool dropouts 09/12/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 9:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming

    Roads

    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  2. A sports rout on Wall Street

    Retail

    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.

  3. Grocery chain Aldi hosting hiring event in Brandon Aug. 24

    Retail

    BRANDON — German grocery chain Aldi is holding a hiring event for its Brandon store Aug. 24. It is looking to fill store associate, shift manager and manager trainee positions.

  4. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik backs film company pursuing global blockbusters

    Corporate

    TAMPA — Jeff Vinik's latest investment might be coming to a theater near you.

    Jeff Vinik, Tampa Bay Lightning owner, invested in a new movie company looking to appeal to a global audience. | [Times file photo]
  5. Trigaux: Look to new Inc. 5000 rankings for Tampa Bay's future heavyweights

    Business

    There's a whole lotta fast-growing private companies here in Tampa Bay. Odds are good you have not heard of most of them.

    Yet.

    Kyle Taylor, CEO and founder of The Penny Hoarder, fills a glass for his employees this past Wednesday as the young St. Petersburg personal advice business celebrates its landing at No. 25 on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in the country. Taylor, still in his 20s, wins kudos from executive editor Alexis Grant for keeping the firm's culture innovative. The business ranked No. 32 last year. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]