Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

5 INDUSTRIES TO WATCH; Jobs Are Lost and Gained in Jacksonville

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

5 INDUSTRIES TO WATCH; Jobs Are Lost and Gained in Jacksonville

Article excerpt

Byline: GREGORY RICHARDS, The Times-Union

The nation's employers hired hundreds of thousands of additional workers last month, the Labor Department reported earlier this month. But is the surge of hiring being felt in Jacksonville?

From April 2003 to April 2004, the most recent month available, total non-agricultural employment grew 2.7 percent on the First Coast, to 572,500, according to Florida's Agency for Workforce Innovation. However, the numbers -- for the Jacksonville Metropolitan Statistical Area -- Duval, St. Johns, Clay and Nassau counties -- varied much over that period within specific industries.

Manufacturing

Manufacturing employment fell 2.4 percent to 32,000, from April 2003 to April 2004. Its durable goods component -- meaning items like cars and refrigerators -- dropped 5.6 percent, or 1,100 jobs. Lad Daniels, president of the First Coast Manufacturers Association, said that was probably attributable to manufacturers spending their money on more advanced equipment to increase productivity rather than increased hiring. They've had to make that choice because of difficulties in getting customers to accept price increases and global competition.

But employment in the non-durable goods category -- including products like contact lenses and Bacardi rum -- increased by 2.3 percent, with 300 new jobs. "You're seeing a strengthening in that sector of the economy," said Daniels, who is also president of the Jacksonville City Council.

Administrative and waste services

This broad category that includes everything from exterminators to travel agents -- but is heavily focused on employment services -- increased 8.3 percent to 53,400, from April 2003 to April 2004. That doesn't surprise Kim Hooker, branch manager with staffing agency at Personnel One. "We're seeing business increases along all of our lines of business," she said. Those lines are light industrial, clerical and mortgage.

Though the first three months of the year are typically slow in the staffing industry, that wasn't the case this year at Hooker's office. From January through April, operating profits increased 39 percent from the same period last year. …

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