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Friday, August 29, 2008


More Florida Jobs Lost

Florida’s unemployment rate once again increased in July, rising above the national average to 6.1 percent. This is the highest percentage of jobless residents the state has had since January 1995.

According to the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation, during the same month last year only 4.1 percent of those living in the state were unable to find work, which shows that Florida jobs are now harder to come by than they normally are.

Contributing to the rising unemployment rate was the fact that Florida continued to lose jobs in July. The construction industry, which has been hit hard by the failing housing market, cut many positions.

Over the last year, ending in July, employers in this industry have done away with 13.4 percent of their workforce. Of the approximately 96,800 Florida jobs lost in the last year, around 79,200 were in construction.

Other industries losing a significant number of jobs in July included manufacturing, employment services, automobile sales and several others.

Many employers have cited the rising cost of gas and its effect on the economy as part of the reason they are having to do away with jobs in order to keep profits up. Even the energy providers themselves are suffering.

Just this week utility Progress Energy Florida announced that it will eliminating around 300 positions before the end of the year. The company says that the weakening economy has caused the number of requests for new connects to drastically decrease. Although some will loss their jobs, almost half of the jobs that will be done away with are currently vacant.

“The difficult economy is taking a toll on companies all around the country and is particularly affecting our company in Florida,” said Jeff Lyash, company chief executive and president, in a recent statement.

At this time, the company provides electricity to 1.7 million Floridians. Progress Energy Florida, which is a subsidiary of Progress Energy, said that growth and energy consumption has slowed considerably. The number of vacant houses in the state is believed to be largely to blame for the company’s smaller number of customers. Only about 2,000 new customers have signed up for Progress Energy Florida’s services between June of 2007 and June 2008

The subsidiary now has 1,600 positions, but expects to have around 1,300 once finished with these layoffs. Of the 300 jobs that will be eliminated, 143 are vacant at the moment. After making this announcement, shares in the company rose by 6 cents.

Progress Energy has also mentioned that it will be looking into the staff at it’s subsidiary in the Carolinas. Despite the evaluation, the company does not plan to execute drastic layoffs because the economic slump has not been as extreme in these states.


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