- II. Strategic Elements
The Unified or Combined State Plan must include a Strategic Planning Elements section that analyzes the State’s current economic environment and identifies the State’s overall vision for its workforce development system. The required elements in this section allow the State to develop data-driven goals for preparing an educated and skilled workforce and to identify successful strategies for aligning workforce development programs to support economic growth. Unless otherwise noted, all Strategic Planning Elements apply to Combined State Plan partner programs included in the plan as well as to core programs.
- a. Economic, Workforce, and Workforce Development Activities Analysis
The Unified or Combined State Plan must include an analysis of the economic conditions, economic development strategies, and labor market in which the State’s workforce system and programs will operate.
- a. Economic, Workforce, and Workforce Development Activities Analysis
II. a. 1. B. Workforce Analysis
The Unified or Combined State Plan must include an analysis of the current workforce, including individuals with barriers to employment, as defined in section 3 of WIOA4. This population must include individuals with disabilities among other groups5 in the State and across regions identified by the State. This includes—
 Individuals with barriers to employment include displaced homemakers; low-income individuals; Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians; individuals with disabilities, including youth who are individuals with disabilities; older individuals; ex-offenders; homeless individuals, or homeless children and youths; youth who are in or have aged out of the foster care system; individuals who are English language learners, individuals who have low levels of literacy, and individuals facing substantial cultural barriers; farmworkers (as defined at section 167(i) of WIOA and Training and Employment Guidance Letter No. 35-14); individuals within 2 years of exhausting lifetime eligibility under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program; single parents (including single pregnant women); and long-term unemployed individuals.
 Veterans, unemployed workers, and youth, and others that the State may identify.
i. Employment and Unemployment
Provide an analysis of current employment and unemployment data, including labor force participation rates, and trends in the State.
ii. Labor Market Trends
Provide an analysis of key labor market trends, including across existing industries and occupations.
iii. Education and Skill Levels of the Workforce
Provide an analysis of the educational and skill levels of the workforce.
iv. Skill Gaps
Describe apparent ‘skill gaps’.
Employment and Unemployment
Labor Force and Unemployment
Labor force counts the number of citizens who are available to work. Labor force participation rate measures the number of people who are available to work as a percentage of the total population. Not all of those who are counted in the labor force are employed. The unemployment rate is the share of the labor force that is jobless, expressed as a percentage.
Florida’s labor force increased steadily after reaching its low point in November 2009 (8,033,000), declining slightly upon reaching a peak in March of 2019 (10,335,000), but has been increasing since. There were 10,421,000 in the labor force in September 2019, with 10,085,000 employed people in the labor force.
Florida’s Labor Force and Employment
Florida’s unemployment rate has declined since the January 2010 peak of 11.3 percent reached in the Great Recession. The number of unemployed persons peaked at 1,024,000 in January 2010 and has since dropped by 688,000 as of September 2019. The labor force has increased by 2,052,000 as of September 2019, from the low point reached in November 2009 (8,033,000).
Below are national and Florida statistics on full-term and part-time status of the employed.
Employment Status - U.S. Versus Florida November 2019
|Employment||National September 2019 (monthly)||National Over-the- Year Change (monthly)||Florida September 2019|
(12-month moving average)
|Florida Over-the-Year Change|
(12-month moving average)
|Part-time for economic reasons||2.7%||-0.2%||2.5%||-0.3%|
|Part-time but not at work||0.8%||0.2%||0.7%||-0.1%|
Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey, November 2019.
The unemployment rate for the state of Florida declined by 0.03 percentage points over the year to 3.2 percent in September 2019.
The lower unemployment rates as of September 2019 have been in counties with large government employment sectors or stable tourism sectors: Monroe County at 2.0 percent, Okaloosa County at 2.3 percent, St. Johns County at 2.4 percent, Walton County at 2.5 percent, and Wakulla and Seminole Counties at 2.6 percent each. Higher unemployment rates are found in counties with large agricultural sectors: Hendry County at 7.1 percent, Hardee County at 5.6 percent, and Citrus County at 4.3 percent. County unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted.
Florida Unemployment Rate
Florida’s unemployment rate was lower than the national rate from January 2007 to January 2008, but Florida’s rate began to exceed the national rate as the recession continued to develop. By January 2010, Florida’s rate was 11.3 compared to 9.8 for the nation. The unemployment rates for Florida and the nation have been close in the current stage of the recovery, although Florida has been less than the national rate since April 2017.
Declining or Slow-Growth Occupations
Many declining or slow-growth occupations are being replaced by technological advancement. For example, the list includes clerical and general computer occupations as well as postal and printing occupations. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, out of the top 20 declining or slow-growth occupations, Respiratory Therapy Technicians and Desktop Publishers require an associate degree, Prepress Technicians and Workers require a postsecondary degree, and the remaining occupations require a high school diploma or less.
Declining or Slow-Growth Occupations in Florida
|Rank||Code||Occupation||2019 Employment||2027 Employment||2019-27|
|Total Job Openings|
|1||29-2054||Respiratory Therapy Technicians||535||309||-226||-42.2||34|
|2||43-9022||Word Processors and Typists||3,173||2,430||-743||-23.4||1,757|
|3||51-9151||Photographic Process Workers and Processing Machine Operators||2,163||1,796||-367||-17.0||2,081|
|5||43-9021||Data Entry Keyers||18,549||15,810||-2,739||-14.8||13,197|
|7||43-2011||Switchboard Operators, Including Answering Service||6,421||5,501||-920||-14.3||5,259|
|8||49-2096||Electronic Equipment Installers and Repairers, Motor Vehicles||392||337||-55||-14.0||224|
|9||51-4035||Milling and Planing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic||203||178||-25||-12.3||136|
|10||51-2022||Electrical and Electronic Equipment Assemblers||10,522||9,268||-1,254||-11.9||7,931|
|13||43-6011||Executive Secretaries and Executive Administrative Assistants||43,987||39,178||-4,809||-10.9||30,542|
|14||11-9131||Postmasters and Mail Superintendents||359||320||-39||-10.9||148|
|15||51-2021||Coil Winders, Tapers, and Finishers||425||379||-46||-10.8||327|
|16||43-9071||Office Machine Operators, Except Computer||3,268||2,919||-349||-10.7||2,371|
|17||51-5111||Prepress Technicians and Workers||1,177||1,063||-114||-9.7||934|
|18||51-2023||Electromechanical Equipment Assemblers||1,358||1,233||-125||-9.2||1,077|
|19||45-2041||Graders and Sorters, Agricultural Products||2,817||2,572||-245||-8.7||2,638|
|20||51-4032||Drilling and Boring Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic||202||185||-17||-8.4||147|
(ii) Other Economic Indicators
Other positive economic indicators are:
- Tourism looks healthy as reflected in the increased number of visitors from last year (+5.1% year-over-year growth from 2018, Q2).
- Florida building permits for one-unit structures were up 4,955 (+43.7 percent) compared to the same month a year ago in September 2018.
- 2018 sales tax collections (latest data available) were up 12.8 percent compared to a year ago. Sales tax collections have been above the previous peak (2006) since 2015.
- An estimated 126.1 million visitors came to Florida in 2018, an increase of 6.2 percent over 2017. This marks the eighth consecutive record year for the state.
- The Florida Consumer Sentiment Index level was 97.3 in September 2019, down 0.8 points from September 2018.
- The Florida job growth rate in August of 2018 (latest data available) is up 2.51% from the prior year’s rate.
- Florida’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2018 (latest data available) was up 5.8 percent from 2017.
Education and Training
Many occupations have an educational requirement for employment. In 2017, 87.6 percent of Floridians age 25 or older had a high school diploma or an equivalent, while 28.5 percent had a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Florida Educational Attainment, Age 25 or Older (2017)
|Less Than High School Graduate|
|High School Graduate and Equivalency|
|Some College or Associate Degree|
|Bachelor’s Degree or Higher|
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2013-2017 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates
Prepared by Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Bureau of Labor Market Statistics, November 2019.
Certifications are issued by a non-governmental certification body and convey that an individual has the knowledge or skill to perform a specific job. A license is awarded by a government agency and conveys a legal authority to work in an occupation.
Florida Certificate and License Holders, 2016-18
|Number of Employed People|
|% With a Certificate or License|
|16 - 24||1,060||10.8||$485||$614|
|25 – 54||6,204||27.9||$734||$943|
|< High School||556||9.1||$495||$655|
|High School Diploma or Equivalent||2,419||15.7||$635||$734|
|Some College or Associate Degree||2,468||28.6||$727||$809|
|Bachelor’s and Beyond||3,160||40.0||$1111||$1240|
|Black or African American||1,554||24.5||$606||$748|
|Ethnicity*: Hispanic or Latino Ethnicity||2,600||20.8||$624||$881|
* Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race.
Source: The Labor Market Information (LMI) Institute
Prepared by Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Bureau of Labor Market Statistics, November 2019.(
iv. Skills Gap and Job Vacancy Survey
The Florida Skills Gap and Job Vacancy Survey was designed to provide a statistically valid analysis of the skills gaps statewide and in Florida’s local labor markets. The existence of skills gaps has been a matter of much discussion among employer groups, industry associations, labor economists, and others throughout the workforce system. To research skills gaps, CareerSource Florida, in coordination with CareerSource Broward, funded a pilot project survey conducted in 2016 by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) Bureau of Workforce Statistics and Economic Research (WSER). The success of the Broward pilot project showed that skills gap data could be collected and enabled CareerSource Florida and DEO to proceed with a full survey of all 24 Local Workforce Development Areas in Florida in 2017. Building on deep knowledge and experience in conducting local job vacancy surveys, WSER designed a survey instrument that collected skills gaps and job vacancies, along with the attributes of vacancies.
The survey questionnaire was provided by DEO to the survey vendor and loaded into a computer-assisted telephone inquiry (CATI) software system. The survey sample was drawn from a file of employers covered by Florida’s Reemployment Assistance law using U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) methods and software. The sample was stratified by size and industry sector. Within the size/industry strata, establishments were selected at random except for large employers (250+), of which all were selected. Only private-sector establishments were included in the sampling frame. The final sample had almost 54,000 establishments. Based on random probability sampling, these employers represented all employers in the industry sampling frame. Data collection extended from April 2017 until mid-November 2017. The survey had a final response rate of 72.9 percent. All industry super sectors exceeded the required 70 percent response rate. The survey files were submitted to WSER as they were completed, and the entire survey was finished in December 2017. The raw survey data were then converted to estimates representing all employment in the sampling frame using BLS methodology. Publishable and valid results were produced for all of Florida’s 24 Local Workforce Development Areas.
The final survey results measured 247,399 job vacancies. The largest number of vacancies by industry were found in Education and Health Services, which had an estimated 60,843 vacancies, followed by Leisure and Hospitality with 51,772 vacancies. The largest number of vacancies by occupational group were found in Food Preparation and Serving Occupations (39,302). Sales and Related Occupations ranked second in the number of vacancies (35,394).
Skills gaps were estimated for job vacancies using the weights assigned to the establishment in the random sample selection process, along with adjustments for survey nonresponse. Skills gaps measures are presented as either total gaps reported or gaps per vacancy. Individual occupations could have several gaps for both soft and hard skills. The highest number of skills gaps were reported in the soft skills of Communication. The next highest soft skills gaps were reported in Reliability/Time Management. The number of hard skills gaps reported were much lower than those for soft skills. Information Technology/Research skills ranked first among hard skills gaps followed by Workplace skills, such as Tool Use and Selection and Safety skills.
The Mining and Construction industry had the largest number of soft and hard skills gaps per vacancy of all of the industry groups statewide. The Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance major occupation group reported the most soft skills gaps per vacancy. The Farming, Fishing, and Forestry major occupation group reported the most hard skills gaps per vacancy. Employers without gaps were asked how they avoided skills gaps in hiring, recruitment, training, and retention. Around one-third of the skills gap mitigation responses indicated that applicants were screened carefully before hiring. The next most used gap mitigation technique was to retain highly skilled/productive staff. Less than 3 percent of respondents outsourced hiring. The Education and Healthcare industry reported the highest use of gap mitigation followed by Leisure and Hospitality.
Out of a total of 247,399 estimated vacancies reported by the nearly 54,000 Florida private-sector employers surveyed, 62,941 vacancies were reported to have skills gaps. This represented about one-third of the total employers that experienced skills gaps with job seekers, current and former employees. According to these employers, skills gaps are found across all occupations and education levels in Florida’s labor market. As such, the survey results provide one of the clearest signals from private-sector employers to the workforce, education, and economic development partnerships about employers’ skills needs.
Skills are a key to growing an economy and a viable labor market for employees, students, and job seekers. Upgraded skills will help Florida’s workers be more competitive in the production of the goods and services demanded by state, national, and international economies. The results of enhanced skills to Florida’s workers will include better wages, increased wage gains, higher rates of job retention, broader opportunities for career advancement, and more stable and rewarding career pathways. For workforce and education partnerships, enhancements made to wraparound services, training, and curriculum developed from skills gap survey results could make the workforce and education systems more effective in meeting the skills needs of private-sector employers. The skills gap survey results contain enough actionable data to inform both individual workers and the industries (and employers) who need higher-skilled workers. The results can be used to develop tools and strategies based on gap mitigation findings to promote gap mitigation and retention among employers struggling with retention issues. The results also can be used to help better align workforce and educational training program outcomes and design to better fit employer-reported needs.
The final report can be viewed on the CareerSource Florida website, careersourceflorida.com, at the link: https://careersourceflorida.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Skills-Gap-Report.pdf
Individuals with Barriers to Employment
Persons with Disabilities
Many persons with disabilities who reside in Florida are not in the labor force (727,902 not in labor force; 455,679 in labor force). The Florida unemployment rate for persons with disabilities was 16 percent in 2017 compared to 7.2 percent for all labor force participants. The unemployment rate in this population increased 0.9 percentage points from 2016 to 2017 while the overall unemployment decreased 0.2 percentage points during that period.
The American Community Survey (ACS) estimates for 2017 indicate approximately 13.4 percent (2.7 million) of Florida’s total population (20 million) has a disability. Of those individuals, it is estimated that almost 1.2 million are of working age (ages 21 to 64) with the employment rate of people with disabilities at 34.2 percent.
Florida has the third largest population of veterans in the nation with more than 1.5 million veterans (9 percent of the State’s adult population) according to the 2014 population survey conducted by the United States Census Bureau. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic (BLS), veterans comprise 43.8 percent of Florida’s 2019 annual average of employed civilian labor force.
The post 9/11 GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation & Education Chapter 31 educational programs and the Transition Assistance Program, coupled with proposed state legislative action which permits the use of military training/schooling to be used in lieu of in-state of instruction, provide veterans additional opportunities, which improves and enhances the accreditation process for recently separated veterans in a variety of career fields. The inherent skills veterans develop during their military service, including leadership, a strong work ethic, teamwork, integrity, problem-solving, technical skills, loyalty as well as a desire to succeed, make them desirable to employers of any industry.
Nationally, veteran unemployment rates (non-seasonally adjusted) have trended lower than that of civilians. In 2019, the national veteran unemployment rate for veterans was 3.1 percent (the lowest annual rate in 19 years). The employment outlook for Florida’s veterans is expected to be above that of their civilian counterparts.
Additional barriers to employment may include age, a criminal history, homelessness, long-term welfare dependence, childcare needs, background of poverty, transition from military to civilian workforce, poor work history, drug and alcohol addiction, no reliable transportation, mental illness, and employer bias to any of the above conditions.
A more specific barrier to pursuing employment and navigating career pathways for low income individuals and their families is the loss of social benefits for those in poverty. When wage increases result in loss of eligibility for social service benefits but are not sufficient for the family to assume the full cost of services independently, this is referred to as “benefits cliffs.” When benefits cliffs occur, programs can inadvertently create disincentives for progression along a wage or career path necessary to achieve economic self-sufficiency. Revising eligibility policies to eliminate or greatly reduce the “cliff effect” for social services that support children and families in poverty would incentivize efforts to increase earnings and create a pathway to economic self-sufficiency. Factors for consideration include financial supports for food, childcare, housing, health insurance, and cash assistance. These elements may be woven into a set of strategies that invest in early learning, transportation, and access to services in rural communities. Further integration and braiding of WIOA partner programs and resources could have the impact of reducing or eliminating the benefits cliff. Policies should consider “two-generational” approaches that include not only the youth impacted by poverty, but also provide program services and resources to the parents. An additional factor for consideration is to determine what career paths or occupations offer a path to self-sufficiency for low-income individuals and families on social benefits who may face these benefits cliffs. Evaluation of these issues and subsequent policy recommendations will be considered by the CareerSource Florida Board.