Finding Florida jobs still a frustrating experience for some
By Kiara Nixon
The tailored black suit he wore was paired perfectly with a solid red tie, his mid-back length dreadlocks were tied back professionally to frame his face as he stood among the crowd of people outside of the Senate chambers in the Capitol.
The young man, like the rest of the crowded chambers, was anxious to hear what plans were in stow for the state. He resembles a junior professional entering the workforce. His orderly demeanor changed as he heard the voice of Gov. Rick Scott.
“Over 1 million jobs have been created in just five years since I took office…. One million jobs. Wow,” Scott said.
At that moment, Austin Gaskin asked: “What about state jobs?”
Scott opened the 2016 Legislative session with a 27-minute speech. He addressed taxes amongst other issues pertinent to the state. But job-growth was his main topic. He boasts about creating over 1,000,000 jobs since taking office five years ago.
But Gaskin, a recent Florida A&M University graduate, still can’t find one of those jobs. And thousands of other Floridians have had the same fate.
Gaskin, who holds a Master’s degree in public administration and public service, is frustrated that he can’t find a job in his field.
“The pool of applicants for state positions tends to be large so it is difficult to land a position,” he said.
The Department of Economic Opportunity listed Florida’s unemployment rate of 5 percent as of November, 2015. That amounts to 486,000 jobless Floridians.
Federal government agencies like CareerSource try to aid those like Gaskin, who are in the jobless dilemma. According to CareerSource, the unemployment rate in the Capital Region, which includes Gadsden, Leon and Wakulla counties, has a 4.6 percent unemployment rate, with 5,300 of them being government jobs.
But the situation isn’t hopeless, according to Randall Holcome, an economics professor at Florida State University.
“Florida is pretty job friendly,” he said. “State government employment has been falling and that’s great for the economy because it cost us money and all of that money comes from the private sector.”
That much is obvious.
Florida’s jobs are growing, but so is the rate of unemployment for state workers and those who are trying to become state workers.