Fewer than 1,000 people rejoined South Florida's job market in September compared to a month earlier.
While tens of thousands of Floridians elsewhere in the state returned to work, or looking for work last month, the state's largest regional labor force is lagging — big time.
"Are these people who are out of the labor force going to come back?," asked Hector Sandoval, director of economic analysis at the University of Florida's Bureau of Economic and Business Research.
It has been a slow return in South Florida. Even as the state was one of the first to reopen and remove restrictions put in place to slow the spread of COIVD-19, tens of thousands of people are sitting out the rebound. They haven’t rejoined the workforce, leaving a record high number of job openings and companies looking for workers for all kinds of jobs.
Florida's labor force has growth by 5.5% over the past year — a time marking when the pandemic recovery was well under way. The work force has increased only 3.3% in South Florida during that same time, according to state data.
Claudia DiGino has 18 job openings at the hotel where she is general manager — that's out of a full roster of 50.
"It's a lot for us," she said. "We are using some other resources like agencies where they send us people over who they can assist us with basic labor. However, it is continual training for these positions, so it becomes a little bit challenging."
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