The state of Florida endeavors to become the top performing economy in the United States and the world’s best destination for learning, playing, working, doing business, and even living. To achieve these goals, the state formed the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, here in referred to as the DEO. The DEO is responsible for the statewide coordination and management of community development opportunities, workforce programs, and economic development initiatives. The agency works with other partners in support of the governor to champion economic development in the state. Over the last five years, the DEO contributed immensely to the state’s creation of over 1 million jobs (Florida Department of Economic Opportunity). In December of 2015 alone, the DEO championed the creation of 21,000 jobs by the private sector. Based on this information, this paper focuses on the role of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DOE) as a key stakeholder in championing community development in its jurisdiction. The discussion focuses on the issue of minimum wage alongside what the DOE has done or is doing to ensure that the state’s labor force gets descent wages.
Workers in Florida have been demanding for the raising of the minimum wages since the presidential race in the United States began. The presidential candidates have been using the minimum wages issues agenda in the campaigning and the workers have been trying to push the authorities and employers to raise the minimum wage rate to $15 per hour (Florida Department of Economic Opportunity). This prompted various protests across the United States and in Florida, the protests began as early as in June 20155 when South Florida employees went to the street demanding the raising of the minimum wages to $15. In November 2015 there were protests in both Miami and in Orlando with the employees demanding similar raises in the minimum wage from the recently enacted rate of $8.05 per hour. Notably, community development spans various facets of the community and the wage rate is just one of them. The DEO clearly understands its responsibility in the determination of the wage rates and this is why the discussion on community development cannot preclude the DEO (Florida Department of Economic Opportunity). Additionally, the fact that there have been protests in the DEO indicates the importance of addressing the issue of minimum wage in the state and therefore setting the pace for other states in the US especially when considered that many people are moving to Florida hence raising the labor force and providing the state with the potential for more economic development.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity published the December 2015 economic report for the state of Florida. The report provide several statistics on the community development in the region as well as the impact that the development programs had on the economy. The report indicated that in December 2015 alone, the state created over 21,000 jobs in the private sector. The available job openings for the month amounted to 282,386. This contributed heavily to keeping the rate of unemployment in the state below the 5% mark. On career development, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity reported that 37,932 Floridians were placed in jobs over the same period. This indicates that the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is committed to achieving its set objectives of community development through the creation of job opportunities for the local communities. The impact of the robust economic empowerment and community development programs is seen in improving economic variables (Florida Department of Economic Opportunity). One of these variables includes the rising housing prices which indicate rising demand for housing and the pursuit of the American dream by the local communities in Florida.
Despite the continued creation of job opportunities by the private sector in association with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, high levels of dissatisfaction are also eminent in the state. This is considering the recent protests across the state. The rate of unemployment in the region has also been persistently high at 5%. This indicates that despite the private sector job growth by 1,025,400 since December 2010, full employment has not yet been achieved. This means that there are still people in frictional unemployment who continuously live on menial paychecks especially when considering that the wage rates have been static. Notably, the best indicator of this stagnation in the wage rates is the rate at which the DOE raised the wage rates (from $ 8.00 to $8.05) is still low and the government would require to focus on ensuring that the wage rates are raised without negatively affecting the economic development efforts of the DOE (Florida Department of Economic Opportunity). This means that beyond getting back to work, Floridian’s require improvement in the wage rates in sync with the rising rates of interest and the rate of inflation the US.
The above paragraphs recommends the raising of the wage rates for the citizens in Florida. However, it does not mention by what extent the wages should be raised. Logically, the raising of the wage rates from the current $8.05 to $15 would have many adverse implications on the economy of Florida. The first and major implication would be the laying off of the workers due to the sporadic rise in the cost of labor. This would lead to sharp rises in unemployment from the current level that is the 5%. This is because the sharp rise from %8 to $15 would indicate an almost doubling effect and this would threaten various labor intensive industries in the economy (Florida Department of Economic Opportunity). That said, it is important for the state of Florida together with the workers to jointly consider the level to which the rates can be comfortably raised based on the statistical and economic facts available. For instance, the raising of the minimum wages could be bases on the 13% rise in the house prices considering that this is a good indicator of the changes in the economic indices against which the workers would be demanding raises in the minimum wages and considering this, the wages can only be raised to a maximum of $10.
In conclusion, this essay focused on the community development as spearheaded by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. The DOE has been impactful in creating opportunities for the communities in Florida and this is indicated by the number of jobs that the private sector has created over the last 5 years. However, the level of unemployment at 5% is still worrying while the rising cost of living as indicated by the 13% rise in the housing prices is a good basis for the community living in the area to demand for the raising of the minimum wages. The communities have been working to get the wages raised to $15 but this would have negative impacts on the economy hence the need to consider a more reasonable value of $10.
Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. "Display Posters and Required Notices - FloridaJobs.org." N.p., 2016. Web. <http://www.floridajobs.org/business-growth-and-partnerships/for-employers/display-posters-and-required-notices>.