Orlando labor market matures at mid-year
Region approaches one-year anniversary as nation's top job creator
Orlando’s run as the country’s leading job engine continues, as area employers add more technical positions at higher wage levels.
Orlando employers added an additional 4,300 jobs in June, bringing private year-over-year employment gains to 49,000 jobs. Total payroll employment over the last year subsequently expanded by 4.5 percent, extending Orlando’s tenure as the fastest-growing of the country’s 30 largest employment centers. Orlando first assumed that position in October 2015 and joins Tampa and Dallas in a list of top regional job creators otherwise dominated by cities in the west.
Job Quality Improves
A common concern raised about Orlando’s recent job growth has been its perceived reliance on lower-wage industries. However, an analysis of all jobs added in Orlando post-recession indicates an increasing share of jobs now being added at higher wage levels. More than half of all net new jobs at midyear paid higher than the regional average of $44,027, in contrast to earlier in the recovery when gains were almost exclusively driven by jobs in lower-wage industries.
A particular bright spot has been the ongoing addition of manufacturing jobs, which pay almost 50 percent more than average. Orlando has gained a total of 7,400 manufacturing jobs since early 2010, recovering all of the jobs lost in the industry during the recession and restoring total employment to almost 45,000. That number is expected to only grow moving forward with the realization of the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center (FAMRC) in Osceola County.
Demand for Technical Talent Intensifies
As hiring ramps up, so too does demand for workers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) occupations. At midyear, monthly online postings for STEM occupations in the Central Florida region are trending at more than 10,000, close to twice the level recorded in 2011. STEM postings accounted for 28 percent of all online ads in June 2016, up from 20 percent five years earlier. For some time, demand has been greatest for professionals in the healthcare field.