Blog

LotsofJobs
Lots of Jobs and Lack of Workers

4.4 million people quit their jobs in February. They call this The Great Resignation.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 11.3 million jobs were open nationwide. The resignations increased in retail, durable goods manufacturing and local/state government education and decreased in insurance and finance. The March data will be released on May 3rd. Many quit for better jobs, but 1.4 million had not returned from the pandemic.

I went to Lowe’s this weekend. A new employee couldn’t help me. He actually said he did not know what I was talking about when I asked to buy a bag of soil. I talked to an employee I always see, and he said they couldn’t keep workers. He said it was worse this year than last year. There is a sign posted saying they will interview today. That sign has been there for some time. Adequate training is a big issue, but what if people don’t stay long enough to be trained?

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New Urbanism Seaside
New Urbanism & Small Town Planning

Many of you have heard the term New Urbanism. Even if you haven’t heard the term, you’ve seen it in action. Look at Andres Duany’s Seaside for example – the first New Urbanist town in the United States. In articles about Seaside, you will find terms like “internationally famous,” and “iconic.”

The Congress of the New Urbanism defines the term as follows: “New Urbanism is a planning and development approach based on the principles of how cities and towns had been built for the last several centuries: walkable blocks and streets, housing and shopping in close proximity, and accessible public spaces. In other words: New Urbanism focuses on human-scaled urban design.”

It all sounds great doesn’t it?
 

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Farming
Why We Should Pay More Attention to Farming

Besides Not Being Able to Live Without It

You may have heard that Florida’s citrus growers – a dwindling group already – are preparing for yet another challenging year.  Citrus greening, fruit drop and weather challenges are the culprit.   According to the Florida Department of Citrus, Florida is projected to produce 56 million boxes of oranges this season, which would be the state’s second smallest citrus output in the last 20 years.  For those of us who live outside the citrus belt, these impacts may be less obvious – until we buy orange juice and other citrus products.  We pay attention when there are food and toilet paper shortages in the store. When those things are gone, everything else pales in comparison.

 

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Construction
The Construction Industry - Feast and Famine

We have all heard building is booming. Interest rates have been at historic lows. End users and investors are taking advantage of this environment.

In Okaloosa County, we can see the residential and commercial construction taking place. Remodeling and re-roofing are also a large part of the construction activity. 

The construction industry is a vital component of economic development. Obviously it creates construction jobs. It creates homes and businesses for people to live and work. But it also drives the demand for products and materials and the jobs associated with these products.  Whether it’s a company selling concrete, lumber, shingles or flooring, these jobs are sustained by ongoing demand

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EconomicDevelopmentEasy
In Our Current Environment, Economic Development is Easier in Florida

What do I mean by that? For almost two years it has become increasingly harder to do economic development in many states.

It started with policy. It manifested in events like riots, COVID-19, school shutdowns, lockdowns, censorship, mandates and more policies such as tax increases.

Last year I wrote about riot-torn cities where businesses were damaged, looted and burned down.  At that time I asked the economic development organizations in Portland, Seattle and Chicago how they were coping. They never responded to my question.

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Unemployment
Unemployment, Underemployment, Full Employment & Maximum Employment

What Are They Talking About & How Does It Affects Economic Development?

We’ve all heard about the unemployment rate, especially during Covid.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.8% in September of this year. Prior to the pandemic it was 3.5%. There has definitely been improvement since the pandemic high of Florida’s unemployment rate is currently 4.9% and was 3.2% prior to the pandemic.

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WorkingFromHome
Call It Working From Home or Remote Work, It's Here to Stay

At least for a few more years according to numerous entities reporting on the subject.

Flexjobs reports the US Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics data analysis showed 4.7 million people, about 3.4% of the US workforce, were already working remotely before Covid 19 hit.
Global Workplace Analytics reports remote work in the U.S has risen by 173% between 2005 and 2018. Upwork conducted a survey of 1,500 hiring managers. They predicted 36.2 million workers or 22% of Americans will be working remotely by the year 2025, an 87% increase from pre-Covid 19 levels.
 

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Here They Come
Florida, Here They Come

Almost 330,000 Americans Moved To Florida in the Last Year

According to Florida’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research, our state grew by an estimated 329,717 new residents between April 2020 and April 2021.

Move.org reports Florida was the No. 1 destination for relocating Americans in 2020. They used internal metrics, U.S. Census Bureau data, and a Pollfish survey. More than 2 million customer transactions from U-Haul migration stats shows Florida was the third most popular state, with Tennessee number one and Texas, number two. Though different sources have different results, by any measurement, Florida is popular.

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STEM
Acronyms Can Affect Economic Development

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.

According to the U.S. Department of Education:
“In an ever-changing, increasingly complex world, it's more important than ever that our nation's youth are prepared to bring knowledge and skills to solve problems, make sense of information, and know how to gather and evaluate evidence to make decisions. These are the kinds of skills that students develop in science, technology, engineering, and math, including computer science—disciplines collectively known as STEM/CS. If we want a nation where our future leaders, neighbors, and workers can understand and solve some of the complex challenges of today and tomorrow, and to meet the demands of the dynamic and evolving workforce, building students' skills, content knowledge, and literacy in STEM fields is essential.  We must also make sure that, no matter where children live, they have access to quality learning environments. A child's zip code should not determine their STEM literacy and educational options.”

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inflation
Inflation, Cost of Living, Unemployment and Economic Development

These days it seems that nearly everyone has an opinion about the state of our nation’s economy, and the subject of inflation is at the forefront of these debates.  The administration tells us there is no inflation. On the other hand the Federal Reserve says it’s just temporary. It does make you wonder how both can be true.

The simple definition of inflation is prices of goods rising over time and the value of currency declining. It takes more money to buy what we need. Some spend instead of saving because they know their money will buy less and earn less in the future. Many refer to inflation as a hidden tax. The middle class and the poor are affected the most of course. Those on fixed incomes really suffer.

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