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Current job market favors employees in Florida. Is your resume ready?

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The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity will release new workforce data on October 20. Anca Voicu, professor at Rollins College, says the current job market favors workers.

People looking for jobs in Florida still have an advantage over employers according to Anca Voicu, professor of economics and head of Rollins College’s Women in Finance Program.

She talks with WMFE's Talia Blake about the current state of the job market in Central Florida.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity will release the latest data on the state’s workforce this Friday.

Listen to the full conversation in the player above.

Anca Voicu is a professor of economics at Rollins College
PHOTO:SCOTT COOK/Scott Cook Photography
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Rollins College
Anca Voicu is a professor of economics at Rollins College

Talia Blake: Overall, can you tell me what the current state of the job market is in Central Florida?

Anca Voicu: I would say that we are in an employee market in Florida, which occurs when there are more jobs available than there are people seeking employment. So in this scenario, employers might need to offer higher wages, better benefits, or any other incentives to attract and retain talent because workers have now more options to choose from. So for the month of August — and this is the latest data we have, the new release is going to come on the 20th of October, so we don't have that yet — but the latest information we have is that in the month of August, overall unemployment for the state of Florida was 2.7%, while the unemployment rate at the level of the country stood at 3.8%. For Central Florida, unemployment stood at 3.7%. So slightly higher by 1% than the rate of unemployment for the state as a whole. Now, at the county level, the average rate of unemployment stood at 3.7%. Now for the most part, out of 18 counties in Central Florida, 13 of them displayed an unemployment rate between 3.2%-3.4%. And we have five outliers, where the unemployment rate ranged between 4% and 4.9%. So due to these outliers, the unemployment rate in Central Florida is 3.7%.

Talia Blake: I know you said because of the outliers, but it also kind of sounds like Central Florida, and maybe even Florida as a whole, isn't doing as bad as the rest of the country when it comes to unemployment?

Anca Voicu: Not at all. Actually, we are doing much better than the rest of the country in terms of unemployment. So there have been over the year job gains. All 24 metro areas in Florida have had over the year job gains, and the areas with the largest gains were Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater. They added 46,900 jobs, which means an increase of 3.2%. Miami/Miami Beach at 3.4%. Orlando/Kissimmee/Sanford added 38,400 jobs, which means an increase of 2.7%. Now in terms of job growth and industries, I would discuss these together. So what job growth means is we identify the sectors with increasing job opportunities and those that are shrinking. As far as industries are concerned, we are looking at which industries are prevalent and how they are performing in terms of job creation. So 9 out of 10 major industries experienced positive over the year job growth in August. And these industries are education and health services, the highest growth that was 6.3% over the year, followed by leisure and hospitality, which is expected because in Florida tourism, leisure and hospitality are the number one. So that was a 3.5% increase. Manufacturing registered a 3.2% increase. We have trade and transportation, utilities at 2.8%. Financial activities at 2%. Professional business services, slightly lower at 1.4%. And the lowest was construction at 0.7%. Now, the industry losing jobs over the year was the information industry, meaning industries that are information intensive, such as telecommunications, media products, television programs, and movies. They lost 400 jobs and that's the equivalent of 0.3% fall. But clearly, overall, we are doing much better than the rest of the states in the United States.

Talia Blake: Earlier you said that we're in an employee's market, and Axios reports that the Great Resignation is over. For those who don't remember, the Great Resignation was when millions of people quit their job around the pandemic or after the pandemic. It kind of sounds like we are seeing signs of that, that the great resignation is over here in Central Florida. I mean, are we?

Anca Voicu: It kind of looks like it. Although I have to say that the number of workers, or percentage translated in percentage terms of workers, who left their jobs or separated from their jobs was higher than the number of layoffs.

Talia Blake: Do we have any idea of why that is?

Anca Voicu: Well, that's exactly because we are in an employee's market, right? Because there are more jobs available than there are people seeking employment. That's the case.

Talia Blake: So if it's an employee's market right now, what can employers do to stand out and set themselves apart to attract more talent?

Anca Voicu: There are different things that we are looking at here and these have to do with the workplace culture. So promoting a healthy, inclusive and supportive workplace culture is really important to attracting employees. Offering opportunities for growth and development within the company. Of course, competitive compensation is important. So providing competitive salaries, benefits, and bonuses if possible, to attract top talent. Offering nontraditional benefits could also matter, which means flexible work hours, remote work options, and wellness programs. Diversity and inclusion is also very important. So implementing and promoting diversity and inclusion initiatives, ensuring fair recruitment and promotion practices. Technology adoption, so utilizing technology to streamline the application and onboarding processes. Employee training and development. So, investing in training programs for employees, encouraging continuous learning and supporting skill development. Employer branding, actively showcasing the company's culture and their success through social media and other platforms. And participating in webinars in conferences, sponsoring events, and so on. Maybe last but certainly not least, health and safety. So ensuring a safe working environment especially considering ongoing concerns related to the pandemic, and implementing policies and protocols to safeguard employee health and well being.

Talia Blake: Lastly, based on what we've seen this year, what can we expect from the job market in the future?

Anca Voicu: There are a few different things that we can talk about here. We know that in Florida, tourism or hospitality represents the number one sector. As one of the leading industries in Florida, the health of the tourism and hospitality sectors might be subject to global travel trends and pandemic related developments. That is very much to be expected. In terms of technology and innovation, with the growth of tech hubs in certain areas of Florida, I would say the jobs in technology cybersecurity, innovation sectors might see an upward trend. Given the climate change impact, jobs related to environmental conservation, clean energy, and infrastructure to combat climate change might be on the rise, particularly given Florida's vulnerability to sea level rise and hurricanes. Another thing that we need to take into account in Florida is the aging population. So with a significant portion of the population being retirees, there may be an increased demand in health care, and services that cater to an older demographic

Copyright 2023 WMFE. To see more, visit WMFE.

Talia Blake