Saturday, March 13, 2010

Tampa Bay Still Low on Jobs...

... which is no surprise to those of us living in this town.
If you are an hourly worker here in Tampa, then you know how rough it is trying to find even a temp job, much less a permanent one.
So how bad is it here?
Florida's unemployment rate was 11.9 percent for January, tying a high which was set almost 35 years ago, while Tampa was even higher at 13.1 percent.

A group of state economists recently predicted unemployment in Florida would top out at 12.3 percent by this fall before a slow crawl back toward the single digits.
"Unfortunately, we caught the brunt of this recession," said University of Central Florida economist Sean Snaith. "I think we're in the last phases of the labor market's worsening."

I've been fortunate enough to find a somewhat steady job through a day labor temp service, but that job is subject to end at any time without notice. Many down here in Tampa are not that lucky and are etching out an existence on only a few hours of work per week. Some good news may be forthcoming though.
The St. Petersburg Times reported last week that Florida had lined up 900 projects that could result in nearly 10,600 short-term jobs but was held up waiting for federal approval. Under the Back to Work program, stimulus funds would pay for up to 95 percent of salary and training costs for new hires if employers agree to keep those jobs until at least September.
Some of the most stunning statistics out Wednesday were on the local level, with the Tampa Bay area posting the highest rate among major metropolitan areas.

The last time state unemployment was at 11.9 percent was May 1975, the highest point since the state started tracking such data in 1970. Comparable figures for national jobless rates during the Depression era are not available but were believed to be about 25 percent.
Florida's unemployment rate remains substantially higher than the national average, which was 9.7 percent in February and appears to be near a peak.