For Immediate Release
July 13, 2011
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As Grim Jobs Numbers Are Released, New Report Outlines Florida's Jobs Crisis
Florida Unemployment Rate Is Fifth Highest In Nation
Tallahassee- The June jobs report showed 200,000 people joined the unemployment lines last month. In Florida, the state with the fifth highest unemployment rate in the nation, middle class citizens are feeling the combined impact of the 2008 recession and excessive budget cuts enacted by the new governor and legislature. The state's low- and middle-income families are in danger as economic security moves further out of reach.
A newly released briefing paper, "Under Attack: Florida's Middle Class and the Job Crisis" details how Floridians are facing an out-of-touch legislature and governor, lack of good jobs, declining access to benefits, higher costs to raise children and decreasing access to post-secondary credentials, among other trends. The report is co-published by the Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy and the national policy center Demos.
Quick Facts from the Report:
--Florida's unemployment rate in 2010 was the highest annual rate in thirty years, standing at 11.5%, the fifth highest in the nation.
--About 55% of the state's workers currently have no access to a retirement plan at work, a figure that has increased steadily since 2000.
--Union membership in Florida has steadily remained half as strong as the national average, amounting to just 5.6% (400,000) of Florida's workers.
"The national June jobs numbers are a grim reminder of the crisis facing the middle class in Florida and across the nation. America needs bold public investment and a commitment among companies to hire new workers in order to rebuild our middle class," said Tamara Draut, Vice President of Policy & Programs at Demos. "We cannot save the middle class without investments in the public structures that ensure individuals and businesses can flourish-our infrastructure, our schools and our colleges."
"Florida is a good example of a state that sorely needs this kind of investment, as our tourism and growth based economy is very vulnerable to ups and downs of the kind we've seen in the past five years," states Emily Eisenhauer, Research Associate at the Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy. "Hospitality and retail are largely non-union jobs that don't pay a lot, which makes it very hard to survive a recession when you don't have much savings, don't have health insurance, and can't retire without a pension. That's why the safety net programs are so important, but also thinking about the future and what kind of economy we want to grow in our state."
"I'm really scared," said Vanessa Cordonero, a single mother and a cancer survivor. Her son has disabilities, and she suffers from a deadly incurable blood disorder. As a result of state cuts, Vanessa's workweek has been cut down to 16 hours, which only gives her around $630 a month to herself and her son. "Many times, during the course of the month, I find myself in a struggle between feeding my son or paying bills. To make matters worse, I haven't seen a doctor to treat my incurable disease in two years, because my Medicaid application has been rejected several times. Why is it that only the few have access to the American Dream? It's not right when hard-working people can't even find jobs to feed their family."
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