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Business Observer Friday, Oct. 17, 2003 14 years ago

Exception to Trend

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A Reuters poll last week of 25 economists said prospects are scant for meaningful job growth and a shrinking unemployment rate nationwide in 2004.

ECONOMIC TRENDS

Exception to Trend

A Reuters poll last week of 25 economists said prospects are scant for meaningful job growth and a shrinking unemployment rate nationwide in 2004.

Florida and the Gulf Coast are likely to be exceptions. Florida economist Hank Fishkind is forecasting 25% job growth in Florida in 2004 - with the state adding 157,000 new jobs. That would be a remarkable jump, albeit not impossible.

For one thing, as of the end of August, Florida employment rolls had shrunk by 28,000 jobs compared to August 2002 - from 7,749,000 to 7,721,000. Not exactly a sign of a robust recovery. Statewide, unemployment stood at 5.5%.

Yet, despite this marginal loss of jobs statewide, the accompanying tables show that Florida's metropolitan markets have added 91,000 new jobs in the past year. That's in an economy whose growth curve resembles more of a coffee saucer than a "U."

Near the top of the jobs chart is the Gulf Coast. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, from August 2002 to August 2003, added 13,800 new jobs. In terms of percentage growth, Sarasota-Bradenton, which added a staggering 12,200 new jobs, and Naples topped the list, each increasing 4.5% or more.

There's a caveat to the increases, however. As the table on page 4 shows, employment services accounted for 10,200 new jobs over the past year in the Sarasota-Bradenton region and 13,000 new jobs in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater region. These aren't really jobs where live bodies are working in those markets. Many of the jobs are the payrolls taken on by the employee leasing firms, the national hub of which is in Bradenton and Tampa Bay. But for odd statistical tracking reasons, they get counted as new jobs in those markets.

Still, Sarasota-Bradenton, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater and Naples showed strong job growth, largely in the construction sector. And that's a sign of the long-running strength in the home building sector. Sarasota-Bradenton also registered strong gains in business services, one of the cores of that market, while Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater added 5,000 new jobs in the education and health services sector.

This growth in jobs in Florida's metro markets is a strong indicator that the economy has picked up momentum. Contrast the year-over-year job growth in the metropolitan areas with the situation that existed a year ago. Back then many Florida markets were hitting bottom in terms of job losses. For instance, between August 2001 and August 2002, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater lost 67,580 jobs. Fort Myers-Cape Coral lost 15,600 jobs, and Sarasota-Bradenton lost 8,000 jobs. Economist Fishkind is forecasting that every metro market will have recovered all of those losses by year-end 2004.

Also worth noting:

× As you peruse the table on page 4, you'll notice in the "losers" categories that Tampa Bay has suffered big losses in all of the sectors that have been affected nationwide - namely, manufacturing, technology manufacturing and telecommunications.

× Here's an ominous sign: Government jobs led job growth in Fort Myers-Cape Coral. And reflecting the aging of the region's population, the second-leading category for job growth was in nursing care facilities.

× Food and beverage stores (restaurants) appeared on the losers' lists in Sarasota-Bradenton and Fort Myers-Cape Coral. Don't be deceived; those losses reflect seasonality and the post-911 downturn.

JOB CATEGORY WINNERS, LOSERS

The tables show total employment, the year-over-year number of additional or lost jobs and the percent change in jobs from August 2002 to August 2003.

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater

Total Jobs8/02 vs. 8/03

as of Aug. '03Gain/Loss% Chg.

TOP JOB GAINS

Employment services166,800+13,0008.5%

Finance/Credit intermediation38,300+2,9008.2

Finance/Depository credit intermediation15,0001,0007.1

Natural Resources, Mining, Construction68,6004,4006.9

Construction68,1004,4006.9

Specialty trade contractors46,9002,4005.4

Finance and insurance73,8003,2004.5

Amusement, Gambling, Recreation13,3005003.9

Education/Health Services145,8004,9003.5

Hospitals38,3001,3003.5

BIGGEST LOSERS

Semiconductor/elec. components mfg.3,800-900-19.1

Air transportation5,600-700-11.1

Comm. equipment mfg.3,400-300-8.1

Computer manufacturing13,200-1,100-7.7

Durable goods manufacturing46,800-3,400-6.8

Overall manufacturing72,300-3,600-4.7

Wired telecom carriers8,300-400-4.6

Motor vehicle parts dealers17,600-700-3.8

ISPs, data processing5,300-200-3.6

Physician offices21,600-800-3.6

Sarasota-Bradenton

TOP JOB GAINS

Employment services54,900+10,20022.8%

Professional/business services76,6008,40012.3

Mining, construction21,5002,20011.4

Goods producing40,8002,5006.5

Service providing242,4009,7004.2

BIGGEST LOSERS

Food/beverage stores8,000-400-4.8

Information companies4,100-200-4.7

Despository credit intermediation3,100-100-3.1

Hospitals9,400-300-3.1

Financial activities13,300-200-1.5

Fort Myers-Cape Coral

TOP JOB GAINS

Federal government2,20030015.8

Nursing care facilities4,6004009.5

Education/Health services18,3008004.6

Wholesale trade5,8002003.6

Total government27,8009003.3

BIGGEST LOSERS

Food/beverage stores5,400-400-6.9

Transpor., warehousing, utilities2,900-200-6.5

General merchandise stores4,500-300-6.3

Manufacturing6,000-200-3.2

Leisure/hospitality 21,700-100-0.5

Source: Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation

JOB GROWTH IN FLORIDA'S METRO REGIONS

As of Sept. 19

Change from

Jul '03 to Aug '03Aug '02 to Aug '03

RegionAug. 2003July 2003Aug. 2002NumberPercentNumberPercent

Naples115,034113,664109,8061,3701.20%5,2284.7%

Sarasota-Bradenton283,200278,700271,0004,5001.60%12,2004.50%

West Palm Beach-Boca Raton535,500528,900516,8006,6001.20%18,7003.60%

Daytona Beach171,000168,400167,6002,6001.50%3,4002.00%

Fort Myers-Cape Coral184,800182,900181,8001,9001.00%3,000 1.70%

Orlando922,900912,100908,60010,8001.20%14,3001.60%

Jacksonville571,000563,200563,9007,8001.40%7,1001.30%

Fort Lauderdale704,300705,900696,000-1,600-0.20%8,3001.20%

Fort Pierce-St. Lucie107,900105,100106,6002,8002.70%1,3001.20%

Ocala85,80084,30084,9001,5001.80%9001.10%

Tampa-St. Pete-Clearwater1,231,4001,219,6001,217,60011,8001.00%13,8001.10%

Melbourne-Titusville-Palm Bay191,300188,900189,8002,4001.30%1,5000.80%

Lakeland-Winter Haven187,800 184,500 187,200 3,300 1.80%6000.30%

Miami-Dade1,005,8001,007,8001,003,300-2,000-0.20%2,5000.20%

Pensacola155,000152,300155,7002,7001.80%-700-0.40%

Gainesville120,000118,100120,6001,9001.60%-600-0.50%

Tallahassee155,700154,600156,0001,1000.70%-300-0.20%

Source: Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation

NOMINAL JOB GROWTH

From August 2002 to August 2003

W. Palm Beach-Boca Raton18,700

Orlando14,300

Tampa-St. Pete-Clearwater13,800

Sarasota-Bradenton12,200

Fort Lauderdale8,300

Jacksonville7,100

Naples5,200

Daytona Beach3,400

Fort Myers-Cape Coral3,000

Miami-Dade2,500

Melbourne-Titusville1,500

Fort Pierce-St. Lucie1,300

Ocala900

Lakeland-Winter Haven600

Tallahassee-300

Gainesville-600

Pensacola-700

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