Two weeks ago, the Tampa Tribune posted an article on job growth in Florida. The bottomline is that things are going well. But how well? Let’s take a quick look at the numbers and how they might affect baseball in the area.
Unemployment in Hillsborough County was 4.4 percent last month, down from 5.5 percent in November 2014. In Hernando County, the rate was 6.1 percent, down from 7.3 percent a year earlier. Pinellas County’s unemployment rate was 4.3 percent in November, down from 5.4 percent in 2014. In Pasco, the unemployment rate dropped to 5.2 percent from 6.3 percent in November 2014.
This is a good thing. However:
While unemployment numbers have continued to drop in Florida, many who are now off the benefits rolls — which reflects that drop — are working in lower paying jobs than they previously had or working fewer hours than they need.
The Florida industries with the largest gains in jobs over the past year were leisure and hospitality, with 13,300. Those jobs tend to be lower paying and in many cases, part-time jobs or jobs that come with no benefits. Jobs added in education and health services were up 12,500. Jobs in professional business services increased by 8,200.
Not the best news for sports teams in the area. People in low paying jobs working long hours aren’t usually season ticket holders. They might buy a ticket or two when they can, but they can’t be counted on to go to a game every night. Or they will be looking for low budget alternatives, such as Minor League baseball.
For the major sports, better potential lies in companies that hire increased number of low income workers. These companies should be courted to be corporate season ticket owners or sponsors of the Rays or the Minor League teams.