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New Florida law seeks more accurate jobless count

Florida's unemployment office says it is making progress in one of its chronic problems: getting an accurate account of the jobless.

Professional employer organizations, companies that handle human resources and other outsourcing on behalf of others, will have to begin reporting a count of each client individually each quarter to the state under a new law signed by Gov. Charlie Crist.

The Accurate Employment Statistics Enhancement Act tries to address a problem that distorts how many workers are in different parts of the state.

Previously, the HR companies were allowed to report the employment and wage data of all businesses that use their services under one account number. That meant, for instance, if a professional employer organization had its workers distributed among 1,000 clients throughout the state, it would have been reported as one employer in one location.

That meant vital statistics such as job gains and losses by industry and number of employers in different parts of the state were skewed.

The issue has been especially problematic in the Tampa Bay area, home to several large professional employer organizations, including FrankCrum in Clearwater and Modern Business Associates in St. Petersburg.

Cynthia Lorenzo, interim director of the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation, said the reporting change will allow economic development programs and job training funds "to be directed to the areas of greatest need."

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

New Florida law seeks more accurate jobless count 06/05/09 [Last modified: Friday, June 5, 2009 7:32pm]
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