Florida jobless figures sobering

Florida gained 9,000 jobs during June, but it wasn’t enough to lower the unemployment rate, which stood at 8.6 percent – same as last month, according to employment statistics released by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity on Friday.

Here’s a bit of good news: Although by just a mere .4 percent, Florida is nonetheless recovering at a higher rate than the country as a whole. A year ago, Florida’s unemployment stood at 10.7 percent, while the national rate was 9.1, a gap of 1.6 percent.

Hardest hit last month was the construction industry, which lost 24,600 jobs, at an average annual salary of $40,873. New home sales remain sluggish after the real estate boom and bust almost a decade ago. Conversely, professional and business services gained 33,700 jobs in June, with a $50,822 average annual salary.

The Department of Economic Opportunity cited employer uncertainty as the No. 1 reason for the state’s sluggish economy. Job providers are unwilling to hire new employees without having some idea as to what they can expect, and Washington has provided few answers. Partnerships, sole proprietorships and Subchapter-S corporations are all taxed as individuals, and the individual tax rate for 2013 remains uncertain.

Uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, is another contributing factor, as is future environmental and financial regulatory schemes.

High corporate tax rates contribute to the mess, too. Florida taxes corporations at 5.5 percent while the federal rate varies from 15 to 35 percent, higher than any other country in the world. I’ve previously made the case that corporations shouldn’t be taxed at all. Corporate taxes are passed on to the consumer and end up inflating the cost of goods and services, making us less competitive in the world marketplace. Florida Gov. Rick Scott has promised to lower the state’s corporate tax rate. Federal taxes, however, remain the real culprit.

View Florida’s June jobs report in its entirety by clicking here.

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