Florida unemployment numbers dip slightly as service industry struggles to fill openings

DEO estimates jobless rate stands at 3.2%

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity released numbers Friday, predicting Florida’s unemployment rate for March is 3.2%. The state said that number is 2% lower than one year ago.

Despite job openings, the state also said workers in the restaurant and hospitality industry have left in record rates following the pandemic.

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The Florida DEO reported workers have left the hospitality in favor of positions within the manufacturing, logistics and professional services industries.

Kirt Earhart, owner of Maxine’s on Shine in Orlando, said he’s thankful customer demand has returned but is still struggling to fill open positions.

“The truth is within our industry, there’s been a paradigm shift in terms of I think the people that are wanting to work in this industry and there’s various reasons for it, so it’s quite challenging right now,” Earhart said. “We do other things such as paid vacations, that is something unheard of in our industry before. We close on major holidays. We do family meals, we do shift drinks, all of those kinds of things.”

With pay rates at a record high, Earhart is hopeful the vacancies will be filled.

“If you are looking for a job, we are paying good. We’d love to have you in, doesn’t matter back of the house, front of the house,” Earhart said.

The Florida DEO also reports inflation for business owners is at a 40-year high.

About the Author:

Troy graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. He has reported on Mexican drug cartel violence on the El Paso/ Juarez border, nuclear testing facilities at the Idaho National Laboratory and severe Winter weather in Michigan.