Study: NW Florida’s Job Losses Will Be Relatively Low

Study: Northwest Florida’s Job Losses Will Be Relatively Low Linda Kleindienst

  Northwest Florida’s major metro areas are expected to lose 15,500 jobs by the end of this year, with Pensacola and Panama City reaching an unemployment rate of 8 percent, according to a new study released this week by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

  Prepared by Massachusetts-based IHS Global Insight, the study predicts that a return to solid economic growth is still at least a year away.

  But the Panhandle will likely fare far better than other areas of the state, some of which are expected to hit an unemployment rate of more than 11 percent by year’s end.

  Projected job losses, and the expected unemployment rate in Northwest Florida’s four metropolitan areas by the end of 2009 are:

  • Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent – 5,500 jobs lost, 8% unemployment. Current unemployment is 6.4%.
  • Tallahassee – 5,000 jobs lost, 6.7% unemployment. Current unemployment is 5.3%.
  • Fort Walton Beach-Crestview-Destin – 2,600 jobs, 6.6% unemployment. Current unemployment is 5.1%.
  • Panama City-Lynn Haven-Panama City Beach – 2,400 jobs, 8% unemployment.  Current unemployment is 6.2%

   Florida’s highest unemployment rates are expected to occur in Ocala (10.9%), Sebastion-Vero Beach (11.2%), Punta Gorda (11.6%) and Palm Coast (13.6%).

   The report was unveiled in Washington during a meeting of more than 250 of the nation’s mayors, who are lobbying Congress to move quickly on President Obama’s call for a national Economic Recovery Plan to immediately create jobs. The city of Tallahassee has already developed a list of more than $100 million worth of projects.

   The statistics project a significantly deteriorating job market in the nation’s 363 metropolitan areas this year – with all but five losing jobs.

    “Cities and metropolitan areas are where 84 percent of the American people live and where the pain of this economic downturn is being felt most,” said Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, president of the Conference of Mayors. “Because of this, cities are where the greatest resources should be placed and where public investment can have the greatest bang for the buck.”

    The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach area in South Florida is expected to experience Florida’s greatest loss of jobs during the year, nearly 85,000.