Seasonal hiring cited as county employment numbers rise

St. Lucie employment edged up from July to August, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

“To me that indication is the hospitality industry is starting to gear up for the (seasonal residents),” offered Jennifer Dubey, communications director at CareerSource Research Coast.

Additionally, she said it’s an indication that local retailers are gearing up for the seasonal residents and holiday shopping season.

“That’s a key factor as well,” she said. “They’re starting to look for their seasonal help.”

The state released its latest jobs report on Friday, Sept. 21. The report covered August. From July to August, the county’s not-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate dropped from 5.1 percent to 4.7 percent. In the same period the state’s not-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate dropped from 4 percent to 3.8 percent. The nation went from a not-seasonally-adjusted rate of 4.1 percent to 3.9 percent. Much of the employment struggle these days isn’t for candidates to find jobs. It’s for employers to find workers. CareerSource is co-hosting two upcoming job fairs to help. The first will be on Thursday, Oct. 11, at the Indian River State College Stuart campus, 2400 SE Salerno Road (from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.).

“This is a biannual job fair in partnership with several community partners,” said Dubey. “This is targeted for aviation, marine and manufacturing.”

While job seekers don’t have to register for the Martin County Fall Career Fair, they can. It’s highly recommended. “If they register, they can get in quicker,” Dubey said.

She said that, as of press time, 19 employers were registered for the event, but Dubey expects more. She said many of the employers are committed to interviewing job seekers on the spot.

The other job fair is part of the state’s annual Paychecks for Patriots week, Nov. 5-9. The local veterans-preference job fair will be on Wednesday, Nov. 7.

“It’s geared for veterans and their family members, but it is open to the public,” Dubey said. “Veterans and their families receive priority service.”

That job fair will come in two parts at four locations. From 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. employers will meet with job seekers at CareerSource’s Martin and Indian River offices; 1880 82nd Ave., Suite 103, in Vero Beach, and 710 SE Central Parkway, Stuart.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., employers will be at the two St. Lucie County locations: 584 NW University Blvd. in St. Lucie West, and 2101 Ave. Q in Fort Pierce.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Florida National Guard and Florida Department of Veterans Affairs co-sponsor Paycheck for Patriots. The initiative launched in 2012, at a time when veterans had above-average unemployment in some, especially younger, cohorts.

At the time, Florida’s unemployment rate was slowly improving from the Great Recession, but still high. It was inching to and just below 8 percent for much of 2012. Today, the jobs picture is improved for everybody, but many employers have asked the state to continue the initiative, because they want to hire veterans.

The national and state unemployment rates are calculated using a variety of methods. Among them are random telephone interviews with people in working ages. Those that are able to work and report not having jobs, but looked for employment in the previous 30 days, are counted as unemployed. Discouraged workers – those who are able to work and want jobs, but have not sought employment in the previous 30 days – are not counted in the unemployment figure. Many call this “shadow unemployment,” and it’s inherently difficult to track due to variations for why people don’t seek jobs.

The national labor force participation rate declined from 62.9 percent to 62.7 percent from July to August. The workforce participation rate has declined over the last decade from being in the high 65 to low 66 percent range in 2008 to the 62 percent range since March. That’s the last time the national labor force participation rate was 63 percent.

To register for the Martin County Fall Job Fair, visit www.careersourcerc.com.

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