Employment Rebound

Job market heats up; health, tech jobs in demand



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Saige Roberts

Myrna Hoover, director of FSU’s Career Center, at the Seminole Futures career fair in September

 

Joey Castagnaro “bounced around” for a year after graduating from Florida State University in 2016, but he landed well. At age 23, he’s now a business analyst for Tallahassee-based Diverse Computing, a technology provider for law enforcement agencies, acting as a liaison between clients and the firm’s software developers.

Karen Shouppe is a former teacher and stay-at-home mom who decided to go back to college to become a registered nurse. At 56, she will be graduating from Tallahassee Community College’s Ghazvini Center in December, aiming to get a job in women’s health care.

Castagnaro and Shouppe may be launching different careers but they have something in common. They’ve chosen two of the hottest professions in a post-recession economy — technology and health care.

“Our teachers assured us that there are plenty of jobs out there,” said Castagnaro. “This is exactly what I was looking for.”

While some professions are suffering, the 2017 job market is at one of its strongest points in decades.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.4 percent in August. Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.0 percent in August 2017, down 0.1 percentage point from July 2017, and down 0.9 percentage point from a year ago, according to the state Department of Economic Opportunity. There were 408,000 jobless Floridians out of a labor force of 10,095,000.

The unemployment rate in the Gadsden, Leon and Wakulla counties was 4.2 percent in July 2017, 0.9 percent lower than the region’s rate in 2016 of 5.1 percent, according to the DEO.

“Florida has a lot of people who are not necessarily unemployed but underemployed who want more work or more highly skilled jobs,” said Tom Feeney, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Florida.

At the Sept. 28 FSU Seminole Futures career fair, more than 200 participating employers included tech companies, bankers, retail stores, accounting firms, law enforcement and insurance companies. Representatives of Apple, Amazon and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations were among the recruiters greeting eager students milling around the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center.

“I’m networking today to go anywhere,” said FSU senior Blake Tipping, at the fair both as a student job seeker and president of the university’s Career Center Ambassador Program.

His interest? “Project management and business analytics,” said Tipping, currently an intern with DEO. The prospects? “Thirty percent growth within the next four years,” he said. “Business analytics is going to be the next big thing.”

Tipping said he double-majored in finance and management information systems to acquire the hard skills but also gathered experience at leadership and team building.