Florida Leads U.S. Job Growth as Home Construction Picks Up


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, February 7th, 2014 – Fresh indications of continuing employment gains in Florida, including those in its construction sector, augur well for the 2014 prospects of the Sunshine State’s economy and ultimately its residential property market, Sarasota Bay Real Estate reports.

In October, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that 44,600 new jobs were created in Florida. This was the strongest month-to-month gain in the state since June 2006 and led the job improvement nationwide.  On a year-over-year basis, the Sunshine State came out third U.S.-wide with 182,200 jobs added, a 2.5% annual increase. This job growth record was only behind Texas’s 267,400 and California’s 207,300.

From its September level, Florida’s unemployment rate declined by 0.1 percentage point to 6.7% in October, the lowest level in over five years. The latest figure also compares with the 7% rate reported in August and the 8.2% posted in October 2012. The improvement in Florida’s job picture is also in contrast with the slight rise in the October unemployment rate across the U.S. to 7.3% from September’s 7.2%.

All sectors up


State economic planners noted that all of Florida’s industry sectors, including manufacturing, are contributing to the sustained employment growth. Most of the gains were observed in the transportation, trade, and utility sectors which combined brought in 56,300 new jobs. Companies engaged in the leisure and hospitality industry added 38,500 new jobs since October 2012, to emerge second as employment generator for Florida.

The Sunshine State’s construction industry likewise led in recent job creation. In a separate analysis of Labor Dept. figures, the Arlington, VA-based Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) noted that Florida’s construction industry added 26,600 new jobs for the October 2012–2013 period, for a 7% gain to rank among the top five across the U.S. As of October this year, it was estimated that construction employees total 373,700 in the Sunshine State, also one of the top three largest nationwide.

Builders boost lot pipeline

This stepped-up pace of construction activity as shown by the recent job gains can be expected to continue in the near future, particularly in Southwest Florida’s housing sector. Sarasota Bay Real Estate notes that both national and local homebuilders active in the region have been boosting their pipeline of buildable lots.

Rosedale Golf and Golf Country Club is one the local communities where builders are increasing their lot inventories. In late November, national builder M/I Homes acquired 42 lots in the golf community in a deal valued at close to $3.1 million. A week later, Ashton Woods Homes invested nearly the same amount for 32 lots in Rosedale. These deals follow the Manatee County’s approval of the second site for the newest phase of Rosedale—The Links.

Well-timed moves

This new site is composed of 221 home lots, and its approval appears just right in time. Of the 224 lots in The Links’ original plat, over half were already sold or reserved.

The MLS of Sarasota homes for sale feature listings of built-up residences in Rosedale priced from the $200s up to the $900s. Their floor areas range from about 1,300 square feet to nearly 3,000 square feet.