Vulnerable Communities in Coastal Florida

More than 15.5 million people live in coastal counties in Florida at risk of at least storm surge from Hurricane Irma. Some populations may be more at risk than others. Inspired by the Social Vulnerabilities maps by Direct Relief, the maps below from JobsEQ® show concentration by county of communities that may be especially vulnerable when Hurricane Irma lands.

Regional Occupation Employment

A good estimate of occupation employment at the local geographic level is a critical piece of labor data. How is such an estimate made in JobsEQ, and what are the advantages of using these data in comparison to retrieving an occupation estimate straight from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)?

According to a 2015 Federal Reserve Bank of New York Staff Report, almost one-half (46%) of recent college graduates were underemployed in 2014. The so-called underemployed workers are employed in an occupation below their level of qualification. For example, a graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in economics who is waiting tables or working at a retail store is considered underemployed.

Help Wanted: Applications Software Developers, Anywhere, USA

Over the past ten years, aside from registered nurses, employment gains for applications software developers have outperformed those for all other highly skilled occupations, adding more than 150,000 workers in the nation over the ten years ending with the third quarter of 2016. More than 775,000 workers were classified as applications software developers in the third quarter of 2016.

How Competitive is Your MSA?

A tortilla-manufacturing firm is in a high-growth phase of their business cycle. They are looking for an MSA to locate their expanding operations with an expected 250 employees. Where should they begin their search? What are the key attributes around their geolocation decision? Let’s start with labor availability.

According to LaborEQ, they should give the following regions a serious look:

RegionLabor Availability
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA MSA99%
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX MSA 100%
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI MSA 100%
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ MSA 97%
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX MSA99%
Source: LaborEQ

The top 3 occupations needed for a firm in this industry are:

  1.        Bakers
  2.        Food Batchmakers
  3.        Packers and Packagers, Hand

Source: JobsEQ®

Wages are another important consideration.  They are affected by the cost of living in a region. So how competitive are the MSAs where the most bakers live and work today? If we consider the wages and regional cost of living for the top 10 regions in the nation that employ the most bakers, Houston has the lowest annual average wage for bakers, $22,100 with a related cost of living adjustment (COLA) of 92.9 where the U.S. COLA equals 100. In other words, the COLA in Houston is 8% lower than the average of the nation. Home values are an important component of COLA. And for regions employing the most bakers, Houston’s home values are certainly more affordable for employees that work in tortilla manufacturing.

US Rank Region Employment Avg. Annual Wages Cost of Living Index Median House Value
1 New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA MSA 12,810 $28,000 154.5 $400,000
2 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA MSA 8,707 $25,100 153.6 $454,200
3 Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI MSA 6,982 $26,300 102.9 $217,300
4 Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX MSA 4,083 $23,800 97.4 $151,900
5 Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH MSA 3,946 $29,200 136.9 $363,600
6 Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX MSA 3,751 $22,100 92.9 $144,000
7 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA MSA 3,740 $23,200 99.9 $167,400
8 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL MSA 3,581 $24,300 112.3 $188,700
9 Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD MSA 3,489 $28,300 108.3 $237,600
10 San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA MSA 3,229 $30,200 204.5 $592,000

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