FLAPOL: Jobs, jobs, jobs

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Jobs, jobs, jobs

Florida’s unemployment rate went down a notch last month.

After adding an estimated 215,000 private-sector jobs over the year, the jobless rate dropped a tenth of a point to 3.2 percent last month.

The new figure continues the trend of Florida outpacing the national average, which sits at a 50-year low of 3.5 percent.

Florida’s unemployment rate also stacks up favorably to other large states — California’s unemployment rate is 4 percent, Texas’ is 3.4 percent, and New York’s is 4.2 percent.

“I can’t say it enough, Florida’s business-friendly environment continues to attract investment and growth,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said. “Prioritizing investments in innovation and talent development while keeping taxes low will continue to advance and diversify Florida’s economy.”

The Governor’s office highlighted job gains by industry and region.

The education and health services field contributed nearly 60,000 jobs over the past year, followed by professional and business services at almost 50,000. Meanwhile, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Orlando, Pensacola and Tampa all boast sub-3 percent unemployment rates.

Tampa and Orlando also lead the way in “job demand,” especially for high-skill, high-wage STEM jobs. The two cities have a combined 33,000 openings for those high-paying jobs.

Additional reasons for celebration: Florida’s annual private-sector job growth rate of 2.8 percent continues to outpace the national rate of 1.6 percent, and the state’s labor force continued to grow with 154,000 entering the labor force over the past year — a growth rate of 1.5 percent.

“Gov. DeSantis’ commitment to growing a solid and resilient Florida economy is outstanding,” said Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Ken Lawson.

“Each new job created is more than a data figure; it is a real opportunity for a Floridian to do meaningful work, pay their bills, and live a better life. We are committed to making smart strategic investments in Florida communities to ensure we are fueling economic growth for all Floridians.”

Coming up, the usual assortment of tidbits, leftovers and not-ready-for-prime-time moments by Peter Schorsch, Drew Wilson and the staff of Florida Politics.

The week in appointments

Madison County Schools — DeSantis appointed Shirley D. Joseph as the county’s Superintendent of Schools. She is appointed to the position vacated by Dr. Karen Pickles. Joseph, of Madison, has been interim superintendent and has served in various roles in K-12 public education, including teacher, instructional coach, principal and district administrator. Joseph received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Florida Atlantic University and a master’s degree from Florida A&M University.

Tampa Port Authority — DeSantis appointed William Theodore “Ted” Conner and reappointed Hung Mai and Patrick Allman. Conner, of Tampa, is the senior vice president at Old Republic National Title Insurance Company. He is appointed to a four-year term. Mai, of Tampa, is president and chief executive officer at H.T. Mai, Inc., a civil engineering firm. He is reappointed to a four-year term. Allman, of Tampa, is the general manager at Odyssey Manufacturing Company and served in the Navy as a nuclear power and submarine officer before retiring as a Captain in 2013. He is reappointed to a four-year term. These are subject to confirmation by the state Senate.

Hillsborough County Aviation Authority — DeSantis reappointed Robert Watkins. Watkins, of Tampa, is a certified public accountant and president of Robert Watkins & Company. He has served on the Aviation Authority since 2011 and currently is chair. He is reappointed to a four-year term.

Florida State College at Jacksonville District Board of Trustees — DeSantis appointed Rod Odom and reappointed Laura DiBella. Odom, of Yulee, is a retired CEO at AT&T Southeast. He is appointed to a four-year term. DiBella, of Fernandina Beach, is the port director for Fernandina Ocean Highway and Port Authority. She is reappointed to a four-year term. These are subject to confirmation by the state Senate.

Daytona State College District Board of Trustees —  DeSantis appointed Randall Dye and Robert Lloyd, as well as reappointed Betty Holness. Dye, of Deland, is the owner of Speedway Dodge Inc., and a member of the NASCAR Foundation. He is appointed for a four-year term. Lloyd, of Port Orange, is the executive vice president and general counsel for Brown & Brown Insurance. He is appointed to a four-year term. Holness, of Ormond Beach, is retired, previously serving as community outreach manager for the Volusia County Manager and Commission Chairman. She is reappointed for a four-year term. These are subject to confirmation by the state Senate.

Florida Center for Brain Tumor Research Scientific Advisory Council — Senate President Bill Galvano appointed Dr. Macarena de la Fuente. She is a physician and clinical researcher who specializes in neuro-oncology, specifically brain tumors in adults. Dr. de la Fuente also is an assistant professor at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center of the University of Miami Health System. The Center, created by state law, is housed at the University of Florida and funded by the state.

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