St. Augustine’s unemployment price is rising, however the jobs are there


Amy Flowers, proprietor of Max Labor Staffing in St. Augustine, has sufficient jobs to fill; it merely doesn’t have sufficient candidates keen to just accept them.

Flowers, who owns the St. Augustine franchise and one other in Jacksonville, mentioned it was the worst she’s seen within the temp company market in her 13 years with the enterprise.

“We simply do not know on any given day if somebody will stroll by means of our door on the lookout for work,” Flowers mentioned in an interview with The Document on Tuesday.

Florida’s monetary ache:Might linger as jobless claims rise

St. Johns County Unemployment Fee: Lhighest in state as Florida drops to six.1%

Based on January employment statistics from the Florida Division of Financial Alternative, the unemployment price in Northeast Florida was 4.5%, with St. Johns at 3.5%, the bottom price. among the many counties within the area.

This compares to the state of Florida unemployment price of 5.3% and the US as a complete at 6.8%.

The sting of the financial downturn linked to the pandemic that set in in March 2020 has appeared to ease in latest months, notably in St. Johns County, at the same time as hiring has stagnated statewide.

The unemployment price for September 2020 was 4.1% and it continued to say no till December, when it was as little as 2.6%

So what’s behind the latest rise?

Properly, on the one hand, the unemployment advantages that individuals depend upon will proceed not less than till August. Moreover, many taxpayers are receiving federal stimulus checks, and a few are additionally beginning to obtain tax refunds within the mail.

“They earn extra with unemployment they usually keep residence and get cash, even free meals, and marvel why ought to I work for what you may pay me?” mentioned Flowers.

Most flower alternatives begin at round $ 10 or $ 11 an hour, however some pays as a lot as $ 14 – jobs like housekeepers, warehouse employees, or workplace jobs.

“However lots of people do not need to do these items, particularly the laborious handbook labor,” Flowers mentioned.

Even signing bonuses and different incentives do not at all times work in attracting or retaining employees, and Flowers worries about her personal capacity to finish sufficient contracts to remain at the hours of darkness.

The service business has large holes to fill

A latest examine by the Brookings Institute checked out unemployment developments all through the pandemic, discovering that job losses in leisure and hospitality accounted for 33% of all job shortages, adopted by skilled providers to companies (8 , 8%), well being providers (7.5%) and native schooling (6.4%).

Maybe unsurprisingly, the toughest jobs to fill are the bottom paying jobs, and because the St. Johns County tourism business relies on so many service jobs, this business of the economic system will be disproportionately affected right here.

The St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Seashores Guests and Conference Bureau took the bizarre step final week to launch a public plea, saying the hospitality business was “in a really aggressive full-time (40-hour / week) in addition to part-time workers in meals service, administration, housekeeping, engineering and upkeep. “

The Ponte Vedra Inn & Membership, Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa, Embassy Suites by Hilton Oceanfront St. Augustine Seashore, Previous City Trolley Excursions and Columbia Restaurant are a pattern of lodges, eating places and sights within the area with job provides.

Peter Kenney, chef and proprietor of Purple Olive restaurant in St. Augustine, mentioned he struggled to maintain employees on board after having to restrict work schedules on account of declining demand.

Kenney mentioned considered one of his high bosses was receiving sufficient latest unemployment advantages and stimulus funds to cross up Kenney’s provides to get him again full-time.

“A yr in the past there have been extra folks than jobs; now it is the opposite approach round,” mentioned Flowers.

Another excuse for the ramping unemployment charges will be discovered within the quantity of people that had been on the lookout for jobs dropping out of the market.

Based on the Brookings Institute report, labor drive participation elevated from 63.3% in February 2020 to 61.5% on the finish of 2020.

Rebecca Livingston, Government Vice President of CareerSource Northeast Florida, which has an workplace in St. Augustine, mentioned: “In case you are on the lookout for instant employment, jobs are there. In case you are on the lookout for coaching to begin a brand new profession, CareerSource NEFL has coaching. alternatives that may assist you embark on a brand new profession path in a rising business within the Northeast Florida space. “

Customer support, gross sales and administration positions are on the high, Livingston mentioned.

CareerSource might be internet hosting a digital profession truthful on March 31 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in cooperation with Florida State School Jacksonville, St. Johns River State School, First Coast Technical School and Florida Gateway School.

Greater than 100 regional corporations from all sectors of the economic system are anticipated to take part.

“Of those collaborating corporations, many (together with many producers) are at their pre-pandemic hiring ranges,” Livingston added.

Registration is now open at

Optimism on the horizon

The Brookings Institute examine predicts that “actual GDP will develop by about 6% between the fourth quarter of 2020 and the fourth quarter of 2021. If this development materializes, output by the top of 2021 might be roughly on par. that she would have been. the pandemic didn’t occur. “

“We hope that inoculating folks with the COVID-19 vaccine will encourage extra customers to interact in the neighborhood and stimulate extra potential job seekers who haven’t re-entered the workforce,” Livingston added .


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