We've finally got some numbers, delayed by the federal government shutdown, on the employment picture in Volusia County. They mostly paint a positive picture, but a couple of hangnails still need smoothing out.
Total nonagricultural jobs in October were up 2,400 in Volusia from October 2012, according to the state labor department's estimates, which are based on employer surveys. Business and professional services, and construction jobs were both up 400, and manufacturing was up 300. Those three sectors generally provide higher paying jobs and the 1,100 job gain is really good news.
However, the biggest gains were in retail trade at 1,000 jobs and leisure services at 900. Those two areas are where the lower paying jobs are located and where many underemployed workers are trapped. Also the job gains were offset by a drop off of 700 jobs in government and 100 jobs in education and health services.
Possibly the most eye-catching number was the unemployment rate at 6.5 percent in October in Volusia, compared to 6.8 percent in September and 8.2 percent a year ago, according to department's household survey. The number of unemployed workers was estimated at 16,282, compared to 17,240 in September and 20,926 a year ago.
That looks really good, but the report shows just 1,620 workers say they're employed compared to last year. The big drop off came from the total labor force, which was 2,304 workers from a year ago. The overall job picture looks OK and the trend this year has been steady improvement.
But let's hope those 2,000 workers can be replaced, because 2014 is shaping up into a big year for the Volusia economy, but it will need a lot of workers, especially people with skills.
I keep looking at the growth in passenger traffic at Daytona Beach International Airport and can't help but keep shaking my head. The number of travelers passing through DBIA in October was up 9 percent from October 2012. The problem seems to be that the two airlines operating at DBIA, Delta Air Lines and US Airways, like the way things are with flights averaging 90 percent full. I guess they worry that if they add more flights, that percentage will do down. That may be true, but wouldn't it stand to reason that if direct flights were added to New York, Chicago or other cities across the north, use of the airport would go up and draw more travelers? Or do the airlines prefer forcing people in Volusia to travel to Jacksonville or Orlando for direct flights?
Three more condos recently sold at the Opus, 2071 S. Atlantic Ave., Daytona Beach Shores, each for more than $400,000. There are only three unsold condos remaining at the 53-unit condo. The reason I mention the Opus is because of who bought it out of foreclosure in 2010 - Bayshore Capital. Yes, that's right; it's the friendly folks from Canada who are developing the Hard Rock Hotel & Café in Daytona Beach. Selling 50 luxury condos in a little more than three years hopefully has given Bayshore even more confidence its decision to invest many millions of dollars in Daytona Beach was a good one.
Managing Editor Cecil G. Brumley has been tracking business and the economy in Volusia County for more than 16 years. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cecilbrumley.