Already in 2007 workers began to feel the effects of a slowing economy. Job creation fell, unemployment rose, and wages remained flat. But the cost of living in Florida continued to rise, and job benefits remain weak, signaling trouble for Florida’s workers for the near future.
The annual Labor Day report The State of Working Florida released on Sunday by the Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy at Florida International University showed that the number of jobs in Florida grew by just 0.5% in 2007, down from a high of 4% growth in 2005. The construction industry showed the biggest drop, losing 54,000 jobs. Unemployment rose from 3.2% in 2006 to 4.1% in 2007, with Hispanics experiencing the biggest increase. The insecurity in the job market meant no upward pressure on wages, which saw no growth in Florida in 2007. Florida remains very weak in job benefits, ranking 47th in health care coverage and 50th for private sector pension/retirement plans.