Local job market continues growth

Study: Biggest growth sector will be construction

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Researchers said it's been gradually improving, now a new study said Jacksonville's job market will keep growing steadily through 2016.

Researchers at the University of Central Florida said employment is expected to grow by around 2% each year from now until 2016.

The study said the biggest growth sector will be construction. That came as a welcome surprise to a Worksource employee, but she said overall they've noticed job growth in Jacksonville, and the report will only encourage job seekers.

"We see thousands of people at Worksource every day looking for jobs and I think that every bit of optimistic news makes the workers more optimistic," said Candace Moody of Worksource.

That's just one of the things Moody of WorkSource in Jacksonville is taking away from a new study from the University of Central Florida.

Researchers expect employment to grow by 2.1% in 2014, 2.2% in 2015 and 1.8% in 2016.

The sector expected to see the most growth is construction, with an average annual growth rate of 8.7%. Behind it is the professional and business services sector at 3.2%.

"That's wonderful news for a lot of workers who have been shut out of the market for a very long time. I think that's attributable to the increase in the housing market now that our foreclosure crisis has mostly passed were seeing a lot of houses being bought up by investors," said Moody.

Another highlight from the study is that personal income is expected to rise by 5.7% on average, boosting the real per capita income to an average of $39,800.

The study also predicts the unemployment rate in Jacksonville will be 6.1% this year, then fall to 5.9% in 2015 and stay at that rate in 2016.

"We're definitely past that recession oppression that we've been experiencing for quite some time and Jacksonville's job growth is improving at a rate that's better than most of the state and the nation. So we're pleased about that," said Moody.

Moody did have some concerns about job growth. She said right now the Health Care Act is causing a lot of uncertainty among employers who are not quite sure what they need to do.

She said when employers are feeling uncertain about the cost of labor, they're going to be hesitant about hiring.