We’ve reached the crisis point in employment.
No, not the one where you can’t find a job, it’s the one where employers can’t find workers.
The latest state estimates show Volusia County’s unemployment rate was 3.1 percent in September, down from 3.8 percent in August and 4.1 percent in September. 2017. Less than 8,000 workers were listed as unemployed out of a workforce of 254,660.
Obviously there are still people looking for a job, but as economists see it, we’re at full employment. So, when you interview for a job, you can ask for more money and perks, and you may just get them. The old 25 percent employee discount may become a relic of the past as employers seek seasonal workers for the holidays.
Of course, that means we’re going to run into some inflation and customer service will drop off some. But there is one silver lining. Snowbirds may decide their winter home needs some sprucing up and they’ll take one of those seasonal jobs to pay for home improvements.
In the past, you could count on this area attracting people looking for work from areas that aren’t enjoying as a good an economy, but don’t count on it. Having just returned from a vacation road trip to Savannah, Ga., and Asheville, N.C., a couple of places where the hustle and bustle was on hyper-speed, I can tell you there are a lot of other places that are desperately looking for workers.
So, what can employers do? It looks like we’re going to be using a lot more self-checkout lines and other efforts of efficiency. In other words, if you need service, you may have to do it yourself.
While I know why JetBlue is pulling out of Daytona Beach as it tries to make a profit system-wide, it’s still kind of a head scratcher when you look at how passenger traffic is growing at Daytona Beach International Airport. Traffic increased 21.3 percent in September from September 2017 with 57,355 passengers flying in or out of the county-operated airport, compared to 47,272 passengers last September. Still, I guess it isn’t enough. We need to get to 100,000 passengers a month to really some interest from air carriers.
Despite the low unemployment, it’s still full speed ahead for new restaurants. Ford's Garage, a restaurant chain licensed by the automaker, is planning a location at Outlet and Cornerstone boulevards in Daytona Beach. It could be the Tampa-based chain's 13th location. Also, build out is underway for the Miami Grill at OneDaytona. Maybe the increased enrollment at area colleges will mean there are more students that need part-time jobs.
Managing Editor Cecil G. Brumley has been tracking business and the economy in Volusia County for more than 21 years. Contact him at email@example.com (no hyphen) or follow him on Twitter @cecilbrumley.