Chamber quarterly report shows private sector job growth

From the Tallahassee Democrat

The private sector in the Tallahassee area added more than 3,000 jobs in 2016, while the public sector continued to hemorrhage jobs.

A quarterly report from the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce said there was a 2.61 percent net job growth in the private sector a 1.9 percent jump in net job growth in the past 12 months. However, Tallahassee Metropolitan Statistical Area’s median hourly wage of $20.60 lagged 11.3 percent below the national average of $23.23.

“Although the job growth rate is far from robust, we continue to see growth happening at a relatively healthy pace that mirrors the national trends,” Chamber President and CEO Sue Dick said.

Four industries in the private sector are leading the growth trend: Healthcare, hospitality, financial activities and professional services. They represent nearly 60 percent of private sector jobs in the Tallahassee MSA, Dick added.

Here’s how those industries grew in 2016:

  • Hospitality — 6.1 percent
  • Professional Services — 5.7  percent
  • Financial Activities — 4.3  percent
  • Healthcare — 2.8 percent

“We ended 2016 with the highest year-end job total since 2007,” Dick said. “Now is the time for our community to build on that momentum. In 2017, we want to see new high marks for jobs in the Tallahassee area. The chamber is focused on our Growing Business initiative and working with local partners to set a new pace for jobs in our community.”

According to the Tallahassee-Leon County Office of Economic Vitality, 3,400 jobs were injected by the private sector while the public sector was down 400 jobs compared to the previous year.

In addition, first-time requests for unemployment claims decreased for the fifth straight year. Other economic indicators show Tallahassee’s economy is moving out of the slump: new single-family home construction is increasing and, for the fourth straight year, mortgage foreclosures are down.

“Over the last two to three years, while government sector job growth has declined, private sector job growth has increased,” said Al Latimer, director of the Office of Economic Vitality. “OEV hopes to accelerate this trend through its collaborative, holistic approach to economic vitality: focusing on entrepreneurial development, tech transfer, business retention, business recruitment, and enhancing our workforce talent pipeline.”