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Florida No. 1 in people griping about their jobs on Twitter

Published Jun. 26, 2015

Florida rarely ranks at the top but never seems to end up last in work-related surveys. But in one new study, it is No. 1 among U.S. states or — depending on how you look at it — No. 50.

No other state matches Floridians for griping on Twitter about their jobs.

What's driving Florida workers to use social media to tweet so often about how they hate their jobs? Could it be the rise of so many mediocre or part-time jobs that have replaced better jobs lost during the recession? Is it the crummy wages and lack of raises that are pushing financially stressed Floridians to vent online? Or, perhaps, the kinds of jobs many Floridians have simply do not inspire loyalty, making it easier to accentuate the negative on Twitter.

Yes, yes and yes. Welcome to the Job Whining State. Florida outpaced West Virginia as the state whose residents most hate their jobs and are willing to say so on Twitter.

These findings come courtesy of the job search firm Monster and the social media analytics firm BrandWatch. The two firms recently unveiled big data results of a yearlong social media study of more than 1.1 million tweets in the United States analyzing who, what, when, where and why people take to Twitter to discuss how they feel about their jobs.

In the study, states were ranked by the number of tweets that indicate people love their jobs compared with the tweets showing they hate their jobs.

Florida's ratio of love tweets to hate tweets was less than 3-to-1 — the lowest of any state. Overall, states in the eastern half of the country revealed employees less happy with their jobs than those living in western states. Hawaii ranked tops among states with residents tweeting most favorably about their work by a ratio of 9.7 love tweets for every one hate tweet.

What makes workers want to complain in Florida more than in any other state?

"A person's field of work will contribute to their overall job happiness, and if they see their work making a real impact on people on a daily basis, improving lives, then they are more likely to be happier," says BrandWatch spokesman Dinah Alobeid.

"We can see in the top titles and skills in Florida that a lot of the work is administrative, organizational or process-based, which may contribute to the lower volume of 'love my job' mentions in Florida than in any other state." And low wages, says Alobeid, is a "big factor when it comes to job happiness."

That's a researcher's way of saying Florida employs lots of people in boring, lower-paying jobs that are perceived as providing little meaningful impact on people's lives.

Obviously, there are high-quality and influential jobs in Florida, too. The Tampa Bay Times published its annual Top Workplaces rankings this spring of 100 companies in the metro area that their own employees say are engaging places to work. Florida Trend, a sister publication, also ranks each year in the best 100 companies statewide to work for.

Those businesses just are not enough to counterbalance the volume of Twitter griping across the Sunshine State.

Monster/BrandWatch's yearlong Twitter analysis found that people employed at certain jobs were far more likely to tweet their love-hate opinions than folks employed in other industries. Folks in the retail sector — a big piece of the Florida economy — were much more likely to criticize their jobs than those in the technology business.

"Tech workers seem to be more attuned to the impact and potential consequences of publicly posting negative feelings about a current job situation, given their small share of voice when it comes to tweeting about hating their jobs," the study states. "This social sensitivity and job love was lacking in the retail and finance sectors."

Workers in both industries tweeted nearly twice as much about hating their jobs as they did about loving their jobs in the yearlong analysis.

Analyzing 1.1 million tweets may not be the most scientific way to measure job satisfaction. But we're going to see a lot more of this type of social media data crunching to decipher people's moods and tastes.

"Job satisfaction is an often fluid, temporary sensation, and social channels deliver people the opportunity to express those sentiments with greater ease than ever before," explains Joanie Courtney, Monster's senior vice president of global market insights. She says there's an upside in all the Twitter griping.

"The results indicate an opportunity for companies to focus on embracing existing talent to move the 'love-hate needle,' as well as those tweeting to translate their skills for new opportunities to find something better."

In this case, Florida might heed the results.

Contact Robert Trigaux at rtrigaux@tampabay.com. Follow @venturetampabay.