Local optimism is apparent over job numbers

twhitt@bradenton.comMarch 9, 2013 

MANATEE -- The Labor Department's report that job growth made a surprising jump in February, pushing down the unemployment rate, was welcome news to area job seekers who have been feeling a bit more optimistic of late.

Joshua Matlock, director of business services at Suncoast Workforce, said that while they don't have the most recent numbers here locally, the news reflect all of the recruitment work they have been charged with lately.

"We have a lot of projects we're working on and lots of hiring going on," Matlock said.

The most recent national numbers reflect what Matlock has noticed.

"We've got a recovery," said Mark Vitner, senior economist for the Wells Fargo Economics Group. "It's not spectacular, but we have a real recovery that looks like it's going to be fairly durable."Florida, California and Texas are moving into leading positions for the recovery, he said, though much of Florida and California's improvements are exaggerated by the depth of their fall."In Florida's case, it seems to me the state is coming back stronger," Vitner said.

Matlock is looking forward to two key release dates in March to determine exactly how the recovery is going in the Manatee and Sarasota markets.

The January 2013 labor statistics for the state is scheduled to be released on March 18, while February's state labor statistics is set to be released on March 29.

"We are staying very busy with the employers we work with," Matlock said.

Matlock said Suncoast Workforce is screening employees for IRIS, Dentsply, PGT Industries, New England Machinery and HMA, a billing and coding company.

He said other future area employers are just now breaking ground in the area, including a business at Port Manatee.

The last local numbers released in January showed growth in trade, transportation and utilities, up 3.2 percent, as well as retail, up 4.5 percent, and professional and business services, which were up 5 percent.

-- Material from the Palm Beach Post was used in this report.

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