County sees growth in manufacturing jobs

When Marcelo Dossantos looks at the state’s last monthly jobs report, one sentence catches his eye first.
“The Port St. Lucie MSA had the fastest annual job growth rate compared to all the metro areas in the state in manufacturing (+14.3 percent) in July 2017.”
Put another way, St. Lucie and Martin counties are growing faster in this key employment sector than anywhere else in Florida when all the numbers are crunched.
“This is significant,” Dossantos said.
The Department of Economic Opportunity released its latest jobs report last Friday. The not-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate in St. Lucie edged up to 5.2 percent in July.
In June, it was 5.1 percent. That’s typical for the Treasure Coast to temporarily see a bump in unemployment during the summer months when tourism is off. In July of last year, the county’s not-seasonally-adjusted jobless rate was 6.2 percent.
Taken together, St. Lucie and Martin counties are the Port St. Lucie metropolitan statistical area, or MSA. The MSA had an estimated workforce of about 209,200 in July. Of those, about 199,000 had employment, for a not-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate of 4.9 percent. In the same month in 2016, there were about 205,000 workers and 193,000 had jobs. The MSA’s unemployment rate was 5.9 percent. The state’s employment department figures the area added about 3,300 jobs from July 2016 to July 2017.
The biggest gain was in education and health services. The MSA picked up about 1,400 jobs in that sector. The second largest gainer was trade, transportation and utilities with 1,200. Manufacturing picked up about 900 jobs, which is 200 more than the leisure and hospitality sector. ¬The state gained slightly more than 12,000 manufacturing jobs over the year.
Dossantos said the number in manufacturing would likely be even higher, except that employers are competing for a shrunken pool of workers.
“The need is there, but we’re short in the labor supply,” he said.
Florida’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate in July was 4.1 percent, down .8 percentage point from the previous year. The month before, the state also had a 4.1 percent unemployment rate. Nationally, the July seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 4.3 percent, down from 4.4 in June.
The national and state unemployment rates are calculated using a variety of methods. Among them are telephone interviews with workers. Those that are able to work and report not having jobs, but looked for employment in the previous 30 days, are counted as unemployed.
The national labor force participation rate – the number of available working age people who have or are seeking employment – is 62.9 percent. That’s up from 62.8 percent in June.

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