January 29, 2015
FLORIDA SEES SOLID JOB GROWTH IN 2014
For the past four years, the January edition of the monthly Florida TaxWatch Economic Commentary has analyzed the annual Florida employment figures for the previous year. Since the first such analysis in January 2011, Florida has gained approximately 710,200 nonfarm jobs, which equates to a 9.9 percent growth. The three industries that have added most jobs from December 2010 to December 2014 were: Professional and Business Services, Leisure and Hospitality, and Retail Trade, which have experienced 15.7 percent, 15.5 percent, and 12.4 percent employment growth, respectively. 1
This edition of Economic Commentary focuses on the growth from December 2013 to December 2014, which has been the state’s most successful year of job creation in the past four.
All Nonfarm Industries Created Jobs In 2014
In 2014, the Florida economy experienced job growth that had not been seen in several years, as all nonfarm industries created jobs. Approximately 230,600 nonfarm jobs were created from December 2013 to December 2014 (a 3 percent increase), nearly all of which (an estimated 225,700) were in the private sector.
In addition, Florida’s preliminary December 2014 unemployment rate is estimated at 5.6 percent, which is a statistically significant decrease from December 2013 rate (6.3 percent).2Florida’s unemployment rate currently matches the nation’s, and is lower than most southeastern states, including those of bordering Alabama and Georgia.3 Florida also experienced the third largest over-the-year job increase in the nation after only Texas and California.4
The three industries that added the largest quantity of jobs in Florida were Professional and Business Services, Leisure and Hospitality, and Construction. Retail Trade, which was the highest job creator in 2013, was the fourth-largest job creator in 2014. The public sector, which in past years has seen cuts, experienced an increase in 2014 as well. The three industries that added the largest quantity of jobs in Florida were Professional and Business Services, Leisure and Hospitality, and Construction. Retail Trade, which was the highest job creator in 2013, was the fourth-largest job creator in 2014. The public sector, which in past years has seen cuts, experienced an increase in 2014 as well.
Largest 2014 Gains
A closer look at the industry with the most job creation, Professional and Business Services, shows that most of the gain is attributed to jobs in Administrative and Support, Waste Management, and Remediation, followed by jobs in Professional, Scientific and Technical Services. A significant portion of jobs in these categories offer wages above the state median wage, showing that investments made by the state have been successful in attracting employers in these categories.
Within the Leisure and Hospitality sector, a major component of the Tourism industry, most of the job creation is attributed to gain in Accommodation and Food Services jobs.
In the Manufacturing sector, a key contributor to Florida’s exports, there were job gains for durable goods, but non-durable goods experienced a loss of nearly 3,000 jobs.
In the government sector, the largest gains were seen at the state level, followed by the federal level. In the 2013 Florida TaxWatch analysis, both categories showed a reduction in overall jobs.5
Overall, Florida’s economy continues to experience robust growth in all sectors. This year, for the first time in four years, Florida experienced job gains in all nonfarm categories, including the public sector. In addition, Florida’s unemployment rate has fallen to 5.6 percent, a rate not seen since 2008. Florida continues to create high-skilled, high-paying jobs, which is reflected in the gains in the Professional and Business Services sector, specifically in the Professional, Scientific and Technical fields.
Florida has indeed come a long way since the end of the Great Recession. These achievements, coupled with job creation expectations in the coming year,6 give Floridians plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the labor market in 2015.
1. Figures were estimated using Bureau of Labor Statistics revised employment data from 2010.
2. Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Summary”. January 27, 2015.
3. Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, and Tennessee all had higher unemployment rates
4. Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Summary”. January 27, 2015.