What Others Are Saying
The Jobs Report, an in-depth look
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has issued job news which, at first glance, appears grim for Florida and Tampa Bay. Statewide unemployed has spiked to 11.3% and is expected to steadily grow to over 12% without relief through the end of 2010. Unemployment in the Bay area has surged to 12.3% and is expected to continue to rise over 13% by the end of next year.
In Tampa Bay today over 161,000 are unemployed, not counting those too discouraged to be looking and counted, the part time workers who can not find full time employment or the underemployed. Statewide we have over 1,056,000 counted as of work. This is the worst jobs data in almost 35 years.
There is good news in this data that should not be overlooked. We are positioned for growth and we still have an active economy in Tampa Bay, only certain segments of our community are affected while some are booming, and we are leading the nation into the new economy of the 21st century.
It Will Not Get Much Worse
Buffy Peterson of the Greater Tampa Bay Chamber Partnership workforce development committee is quick to point out that these monthly reports and the forecasts are only surveys and estimates and not meant to be highly accurate.
“These are surveys which have been proven inaccurate and untrustworthy in the past, like in 2007-8 when the monthly reports were completely wrong and in the forecasters who said we would only get to 10% unemployment this year, or all the times they have told us to say the recession was over.”
During the start of the recession, around 2007-8, the monthly reports stated Florida was leading the nation in job creation. In fact at that time it was later shown we were leading the nation in job losses.
The resulting controversy in the accuracy and trustworthiness of such a key economic indicator lead the State government to assure residents it had no plans to change its procedures and saw no reason to discuss the idea. Buffy Peterson says now we should be ignoring all these reports and forecasts and instead put our trust in the press releases and paid journalism of the Greater Tampa Bay Chamber Partnership.
Furthermore the shock value of such dire numbers is fading.
“These kinds of reports are old news; we have been reading this story every month for almost three years. People are tired of it and ready for some positive news about how great things are in Tampa Bay. We at the Greater Tampa Bay Chamber Partnership are here to provide that kind of slanted opinion” told Buffy Peterson.”
Silver Lining to Jobs News
Often overlooked in such bland government reports are the cheery milestones our fantastic growth and resilient economy has positioned us for the here and now. It was only in recent history that Florida has had a large enough economy to have over a million unemployed in the state.
The 1930 U.S. census was the first time the whole of our state even had a population over a million. Since our Grandfathers time we have steadily grown to a populous and rich state that can now, even possibly, have one million unemployed. The number of Unemployed today in Tampa Bay alone outnumbers the entire Hillsborough county population in 1930.
The Agency for Workforce Stagnation is shining serving over 1 million needy unemployed. We Floridians should have a sense of pride in the efficiency of such bureaucracy. To foster good will and highlight the agency’s efforts they are currently celebrating their 1 millionth active customer, Peter Griffon of Palm Harbor. Peter lost his job as a systems analyst recently and was stunned to learn he was the one millionth unemployed person in all of Florida. The Agency has arranged a parade for Peter at all major metros in the state with receptions and parties in celebration. All functions will be catered with very expensive hors d’oeuvres from the Cheese Cake Factory.
Dim Jenkins of the Tampa Bay Tourism Cabal is quick to point out
“The unemployed in Tampa Bay have fantastic sunshine benefits. What a state to get unemployed in, you get the maximum of 275$ a week and beautiful beaches and ideal weather.” The Tourism Cabal is planning to spend tax payers’ money to market the Bay area to the unemployed in New England and the Midwest as the hip place to be unemployed.
Senior Vice President of the Greater Tampa Bay Chamber Partnership Ashley Ashton earlier told 83 Degrees regarding unemployment data that “…everyone has problems like this or even worse. Since others share the problem, it is not unique to us, so not really a problem for Tampa Bay. This proves we are doing well and do not need to address the issue at all. We have proven that 11 to 12 percent unemployment is not really a problem.”
Ashley further has evangelized the talking point that we in Tampa Bay are an attractive “Unemployment Cluster” primed for growth. With the recent spike in white collar college educated unemployment we have a large ready pool of labor willing to work for peanuts in hopes of keeping their homes and feeding themselves. Combined with a large and still growing number of foreclosed homes readily available for sale Ashley expects great things to happen in Tampa Bay someday.
“We have a large supply of cheap labor desperate to be exploited, homes for pennies on the dollar, an inattentive and ineffective regulatory system and no real concern for the environment or ethics, we are open for business and expect a rush of businesses to come flocking to Florida any day now.”
While expressing this new ground breaking theory of an “Unemployment Cluster” Ashley and the Chamber Partnership have not yet revealed their plans for converting the devastated jobs and housing sectors in assets.
“What we will do, is a secret plan to restore the economy, like the dot com CEO’s back in the day we will grow ourselves into profitability, somehow. What we need is emergency funding from the government at all levels to enact our super secret growing failure to success plan” explained Ashley.
Dan Carroll of the Tampa Bay Comedian Union reported one more piece of the silver lining; we are now seeing all parts of Florida mentioned more often on the Leno and Letterman shows. He expects Florida to be the butt of late night hosts jokes for some years to come.
Our Economy is Active
In the fist half of 2009 the Greater Tampa Bay Chamber Partnership was in full swing utilizing their wide skill set to focus on creating jobs. They have reported the results of their work as 1516 jobs created in the first six months of the year.
“Something had to be done to stem the job losses; someone had to provide the leadership, ideas and action to stem the flow. We at the Greater Tampa Bay Chamber Partnership Committee of 5 do that without flinching, it is the service we provide happily and effectively” said Ken Noggin.
This remarkable act kept the local unemployment rate from rising an additional .0011749%. Were it not for these brave and well paid bureaucrats our Tampa Bay unemployment would have been just over 1/100 of a percent higher then it was in the first half of 2009.
During the second half of the year the Greater Tampa Bay Chamber Partnership has invested further in job retraining. Grants have been awarded to several local bartending schools and exotic dancer training programs to provide Florida-friendly career fields to the massive number of unemployed.
“We are and always have been the lap dance capital of the world. It is part of the uniqueness of Tampa Bay, and a major tourist industry that has been in Florida forever. If the unemployed are to stay n Florida they need to be retrained to work in the traditional low paying exploitive industries that Tampa Bay was founded on” said Ken Noggin at a recent speech to the Downtown Rotary Cub.
The US Census Department will be hiring 5000 workers locally for temp jobs to last several months. Many Tampa Bay residents are excited at the prospect of short term employment without benefits. It is expected to momentarily lower out unemployment numbers thus allowing our politicians and economic development people to declare success and once again that our recession is over.
Additional government stimulus is expected with the 200 million dollar rail way project passed by the US congress and renamed a jobs bill. We at 83 degrees could not find any train and transportation manufacturing firms in Tampa Bay that would benefit directly from this spending.
“200 Million dollars for rail transportation means lots of marketing dollars spent through the chamber, it means lobbying money and referral fees we need as an organization as well as a great deal of business to out of state firms. After completion the Tampa Bay unemployed can find work as janitors or other service related jobs in the rail system managed by yet another government bureaucracy” told Ashley Ashton of the Greater Tampa Bay Chamber Partnership.
In the first quarter of 2010 the Tampa Bay area will see several Wal-Mart and other big box retailers opening new location and bringing valuable jobs to the area. In fact rumors have been flying in the capital, Tallahassee, that the Wal-Mart Corporation has made an offer to buy the entire city of Brandon outright.
Who is Affected?
Unemployment is no longer just for rednecks and alcoholics, real productive members of society are being affected. Florida statewide has reported an increase of college educated white collar workers filing for unemployment by over 50% recently. With the highest reported unemployment in nearly 35 years it is now apparent that the recession is affecting just about all sectors, fields and age groups.
Recent surveys of the local Chamber’s and economic development agencies shows that they are unconcerned, reporting they and their friends are all employed and making money though they do express a fear that the wasteful government spending they depend upon might be slowing down. The stress level of these workers is high as expectations of results for their work may be looming in the near future.
42 years old
Palm Harbor Fl.
Former Systems Analyst with HRMP Collections & Billing
Unemployed since March 2008
B.S. in Technology from U.S.F.
What do you enjoy most of being unemployed?
I have really honed my video games skills; I am a killer gamer now days and have been able to expand my gaming to dozens of new games.
How has unemployment improved your life?
I love the freedom of not having a schedule. When my wife left me I was able to give up bathing regularly and since they are going to foreclose on the house I don’t bother with any housekeeping. I am free as a bird!
Do you want to work again?
Maybe, since there are no jobs in my fields I don’t tend to think about it much. That kind of thinking gets me depressed and I just try to concentrate on my Xbox.
Are you happy with the government services you are receiving?
Yeah though I wish they would bring back the government cheese thing from the old days, I get hungry a lot.
Trailblazing to the Future
We are again number one in job loss. Florida is the trailblazer in this new economic reality, and we in Tampa Bay are the trailblazers leading the entire nation in job losses. As far back as 2007 when this recession began we were the biggest job looser in terms of percentage and total jobs. The latest November data puts Florida firmly at the lead once again, and Tampa Bay at the lead of team Florida.
We are at a 34 year high for unemployment, we are breaking new ground here and will be digging deeper. Most of our workforce has never seen an economy like this in their adult careers and soon even in their lifetimes.
We were the first to plunge into recession and we are leading the nation, we are at the forefront of the most burning issues in America today, job loss and the housing bubble. Our leadership is so strong and advanced it is not expected that housing prices will recover to their 2006 levels for nearly 20 years! Unemployment will return to a saner 6% within 9 years. We do nothing halfway in this state, we lead and the nation follows.
We now are at the forefront of the “Post Employment Economy” and as such we have the key role to craft what that means and how to manage it. We will have an effect on an entire economic generation of this country with our actions and inactions.
The precedents we set in dealing with the coming mortgage revolt and the massive riots will be the basis of the national response to the economic crisis. It is happening here first in Florida; we are providing the leadership in the new economy.