The employment recovery in South Florida is taking place in occupations that support remote working, new businesses and, believe it or not, leisure and hospitality, the industry hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In South Florida, Palm Beach County had the lowest unemployment rate at 6.1%, down from 6.6% in September, with Broward’s seeing its rate drop to 7.3% from 7.8%; and Miami-Dade’s declining to 8.8% from 12.6%.
Holiday bookings in South Florida are expected to fall significantly this year, and it remains to be seen whether travelers will come in sufficient numbers for hotels and other tourist-related businesses to rehire more laid-off employees.
Stock prices of cruise lines, hotel companies, airlines and theme parks soared Monday after Pfizer's announcement that its coronavirus vaccine is 90% effective. The sharp increases reflected investors' hopes of an economic light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel.
Although the state and national economies are adding back jobs taken away by the COVID-19 pandemic, economists note that businesses are not recalling anywhere near the number of workers they have furloughed in recent months.
With COVID-19 aid starting to run out, a new crisis is emerging with people struggling to pay their rent and feed their families. They say they desperately need more help from the federal government, but politicians are locked in a stalemate.
New unemployment claims among Floridians surged to 40,200 for the week ended Oct. 3 as airlines and other businesses tied to tourism laid off or furloughed more workers and the COVID-19 pandemic kept weighing heavily on hiring decisions.
Although unemployment claims have eased, employees in the hospitality, leisure and transportation industries girded for massive layoffs between October and December, which in turn could trigger a surge of new claims in Florida and elsewhere around the nation.
Amid a coronavirus pandemic that dramatically altered the business world, the South Florida Sun Sentinel's annual Top Workplaces of the Year campaign is seeking nominations in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties to chronicle how employers and employees navigated one of the most difficult work years on record.
All three South Florida counties saw their jobless rates dip below double digits, with Broward’s falling to 8.1% from 14.5% in July. Palm Beach County’s rate dipped to 8% from 11.6%, while Miami-Dade’s fell to 9.3% from 13.3%.
First-time unemployment claims in Florida slid again for the week ended Sept. 12, although employers in the hospitality and leisure sector including the Trump Organization continued to extend employee furloughs as COVID-19 suppressed the tourism business.