Friday, December 22, 2017

Gov. Scott: 'Orlando led the state with the most jobs created this past year'

Posted By on Fri, Dec 22, 2017 at 3:50 PM

  • Photo via Gov. Rick Scott/Twitter
Announced Friday in a news release from Gov. Rick Scott's office, the Orlando area had the highest job creation in the state, adding 39,500 new private-sector jobs in the last year for the fourth month in a row.

At present, the local unemployment rate is 3.5 percent, down just less than a percent from this time last year. Across Florida, state businesses created 13,900 new jobs in November as the unemployment rate hovered at 3.6 percent – the lowest in more than a decade.

Since December 2010, Florida businesses have created more than 1.4 million new private-sector jobs, according to the release.

“We are proud to see job creators continue to grow in Central Florida and look forward to another great year of more opportunities being created so families can succeed in Florida,” Scott says in the release.

Over the last year, Orlando led Florida in job growth in industries like professional and business services (10,200 new jobs), financial activities (5,600 new jobs) and manufacturing (5,100 new jobs).

However much of a saving grace as that may seem like on the surface, though, almost half of Florida families still fall under the umbrella of what’s called “working poor.”

Earlier this year, a study from United Way found that 45 percent of households across the state and 43 percent in Orange County still find it practically impossible to obtain even the most everyday necessities – lacking what it takes to pay bills, afford health care, housing and transportation, regardless of regular employment.

With the federal poverty rate currently at $24,250 for a multi-family household, and with the $55,200 per year needed to support a family of four in Orange County, for these households in particular, it's a financial gulf that only continues to widen between what's by and large considered middle class and working poor.

For example, the study points to how, in 2015, 45 percent of Florida’s population could be labeled as working poor households – about 3.3 million homes across the state, a considerable increase compared to the 2.6 million working poor homes tallied in 2014.

Let the numbers speak for themselves to that extent. 

As previously reported by Orlando Weekly, in September, a Census Bureau study released by American Community Survey showed that Orlando has a median household income of $52,285, ranking the City Beautiful as the third worst metropolitan area for income among the nation’s top 25.

And if that’s not enough, Orlando's also coping with an affordable-housing crisis. Earlier this year, a study from the National Low Income Housing Coalition found that 45 percent of Orlando’s residents are renters, with a mean average income of $16.07 per hour. Ideally, renters in Orlando should be making at least $20 an hour, the equivalent to what would amount to more than $40,000 per year.

None of this is good news, especially in light of how most folks are about to spend their December paychecks on the holidays. But if there's any silver lining to it all — at least outside of jolly Gov. Rick's employment update — it's that Florida's minimum wage will increase by a whopping 15 cents in 2018 (that's in a few days, by the way), from $8.10 to $8.25.

Don't spend it all in one place, OK?

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