A Talented Workforce and the Rising Probability of a Recession Leave Florida’s Small Businesses Feeling Uncertain

Latest Florida Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index Survey Shows

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (July 22, 2019)— While Florida’s small businesses continue boosting the state’s economy, finding qualified workers to fill available jobs tops the list of issues keeping small business owners up at night, survey results from the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Third Quarter Small Business Index Survey show. 

“Florida’s small businesses continue to be concerned about being able to hire a talented workforce,” said Dr. Jerry Parrish, Chief Economist and Director of Research at the Florida Chamber Foundation. “Improving Florida’s talent pipeline for a better workforce will help ensure jobs have talented employees, and will help put workers on the path to prosperity – leading goals of Florida 2030, Florida’s next strategic plan.”

Concerns over a likely recession are also creating economic uncertainty among job creators, the survey shows. However, while Florida’s small businesses are cautious, the state’s economy is healthy and expanding. Florida is now the 18th most diversified economy in the country, and there are rising numbers of open jobs and a declining amount of people looking for jobs.

The Florida Chamber’s third quarterly statewide Small Business Index Survey shows small businesses are most concerned about:

  1. Workforce Quality – 27%

2. Economic Uncertainty – 12%

3. Growth Management Process – 8%

4. Government Regulations – 7%

5. Healthcare Costs – 7%

Of Florida’s small businesses, 47 percent of respondents expect the economy to improve, down from 57 percent one year ago and 70 percent two years ago. They also felt that a positive indicator for businesses is that 24 percent of respondents thought it would be easier to get financing in the next six months, compared to 15 percent in last quarter’s survey.

“Florida’s economy is dependent on the small business community, and the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council remains committed to advocating on their behalf,” said Glenda Hood, Chair of the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council, and President, Hood Partners LLC.

About the Survey:

The Florida Chamber’s Small Business Index Survey was conducted electronically June 6 through July 5, 2019. Fifty-six of respondents employ less than five employees, while 32 percent employ five to 49 employees. Click HERE to view the full report.

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Established in 1916 as Florida’s first statewide business advocacy organization, the Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.

Florida Chamber Series on Free Enterprise: Amendment Two


Constitutional Amendments     2018 Election Center


Robert Weissert of Florida TaxWatch: “Amendment 2 is Important for Everyone”

In the latest edition of the Florida Chamber Series on Free Enterprise, Robert Weissert, Executive Vice President of Florida TaxWatch, discusses Amendment 2 and its impact on all Floridians.

“It would be a major concern if this goes down because it’s the only protection in the constitution for non-homesteaded property, so we would see significant iniquity in the property tax system but more importantly we would see negative effects on Florida’s economy,” said Weissert.

Click Below to Listen to Robert Weissert.




Vote “YES ON 2” This November

If Amendment 2 passes it will not only help Florida’s families and job creators but aid Florida’s economy.  Learn more about Amendment 2 here or get involved at www.Everybodyisfor2.com.


Florida Chamber Series on Free Enterprise: Featuring Kevin Hyde, Foley & Lardner LLP


Learn More About Education     Register for the Future of Florida Forum



In the latest edition of the Florida Chamber Series on Free Enterprise, Kevin Hyde, Partner, Foley & Lardner LLP and interim president of Florida State College at Jacksonville, discusses workforce issues, including generational changes, the importance of skills development and training, and changes in workplace expectations.

“What we are seeing is an evolution of the types of skills that are needed within a community and how we as a state college and other training providers, provide those skills,” said Hyde. “Truly the way that people work is changing and that’s why the need for skills training is so important.”

Click Below to Listen to Kevin Hyde


What Will Talent Supply & Education Look Like in 2030?

Be sure to catch Kevin Hyde, Partner, Foley & Lardner LLP and interim president of Florida State College at Jacksonville, at the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Future of Florida Forum, September 26, 2018, as we discuss the future of talent and workforce in Florida.

Talent is Florida’s Best Economic Currency

Each month, I have the honor of being able to travel across Florida and meet with business leaders who are working hard to create jobs and economic opportunity for Floridians. Across the board, businesses tell me that the biggest issue keeping them up at night is having a talented workforce that will allow them to continue to create jobs and grow in the future. If we look at the jobs in Florida today there are 242,500 open jobs. Said differently, there are 242,500 jobs today looking for people. On the other side we have 391,000 people looking to fill those vacant jobs.


Earlier this month, the Florida Chamber Foundation held their annual Learners to Earners Workforce Summit, where they took a deep dive into how Florida can prepare for the future of work. And these conversations, which centered around building a workforce, are far reaching in scope — we can’t talk about a talented workforce without talking about prosperity, we can’t talk about investments in early learning without talking about Florida’s business climate and, perhaps most importantly, we can’t have any discussions on the challenges and opportunities Florida’s cradle to career continuum faces unless we have them together and work toward one goal.

Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam at the Learners to Earners Workforce Summit


“What are the things we have to do to diversify our economy and truly become the launch pad for the American dream? First, I think we have to recognize that the diversity of our state is a strength,” Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam said. “We need to recognize the successes when they are there. Not enough people know we have the number one state college system in America. There are not enough people who recognize that what they are getting for their families is a world class education.”


When it comes to economic development, talent has already replaced the tax incentive as the number one most important tool in an economic developer’s toolkit. If you don’t believe that, just look at California or Seattle and ask yourself- why would a business add jobs there? Despite their undesirable tax environment and regulatory climate, if that’s where the talent is, talent wins.

Today, if you ask a junior or senior in university or in any of our colleges, they’ll give you a place where they want to live and will bring their skills with them. If Florida can be the best place in the hemisphere in attracting and retaining high-skilled talent, families are going to want to stay here and move here, and businesses would never think of moving anywhere else.

However, in order for Florida to continue to grow we must acknowledge that Florida is changing. Our economics, our demographics and our politics are all changing and these changes are both opportunities and challenges.

What Florida has, is an opportunity to move forward. If we get early learning right, K-12 right, career training right, and lifelong learning right, we won’t have a skills gap in the future. I want to challenge the business community to do a better job communicating to the talent generators what we will need in the future. That might not mean a degree; that may mean a certification or more apprenticeship programs. I want us all to double down on the issue of how important talent is.

To help Florida move in the right direction, it’s vital that we look at what the data shows us. The Florida Chamber Foundation’s first Cornerstone Report in 1989 showed Florida ranked almost dead last in many K-12 metrics- just barely above Mississippi. Fast forward 20 years later and we are now in the top quartile for educational outcomes. We have come a long way with the help of our dedicated partners, a business community that is focused on outcomes and state leadership who is committed to excellence, however, we still have a long way to go. While Florida may be a leader in the United States in education initiatives, the real problem is that the U.S. is rapidly falling in comparison to other countries.

By 2030 Florida will have 5.7 million more people, 3 million new drivers on our roads, 50 million more visitors each year and will need to create at least 1.7 million new jobs over and above what we have right now. There is some great work being done in Florida but at the same time, Florida still has more than 1 million children living in poverty. And while job growth is increasing, Florida will lose more than 1 million jobs due to autonomation.

We Can’t Improve Without the Help of Florida’s Business Community

At the 2018 Learners to Earners Workforce Summit, we released the in-depth recommendations on Talent Supply & Education from our Florida 2030 research. These recommendations show where Florida is, where we need to be and more importantly, how we can work together to get there. I encourage you to take a look and provide your comments and thoughts.

Register today for the annual Future of Florida Forum where we will continue the conversation and release the full Florida 2030 report.

What Others Are Saying

The Tampa Bay Time’s Graham Brink wrote: Florida is in a must-win fight for talented workers. See the Florida Trend’s article about strategic thinking about Florida’s future. Check out the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s:  Early childhood learning dominates Tampa business summit.


Thank you to the Florida Chamber Foundation Board of Trustees, for your 50 years of providing leadership in Florida, and to the many partners and businesses who continue to make sure that the right things happen in Florida.

CareerSource Florida President: Right Skills at the Right Time Matter

As the Florida Jobs 2030 report points out, industry input is key to Florida’s success. CareerSource Florida is holding workshops and has established leadership councils based around this report to “think about what the talent needs are for those industries that are so important to Florida’s economy.”

The Florida Chamber Foundation’s Chief Economist, Dr. Jerry Parrish, estimates that nearly 2 million net new jobs will need to be created between now and 2030. Florida’s workforce is key to ensuring a future that can create economic opportunities and jobs for all Floridians. That’s why a long-term lens on what workforce means to businesses in Florida is important.

As Dennard explains:

The CareerSource Florida network served over 80,000 businesses last year in recruiting, training and hiring needs. What we found, was that the need for businesses to have the right skills at the right time available to support their business is critical to moving Florida’s economy forward. Creating a long-term sustainable talent pipeline can move these opportunities from being transactional – or meeting the needs of an individual business— to transformational, changing the lives of Florida families and ensuring that sustainable talent pipeline for businesses.

You can be part of this conversation.

Register today to attend the Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2017 Learners to Earners Education Summit.

Legislative Agenda Puts Jobs, Growth and Economic Opportunity in the Driver Seat


Urges Lawmakers to Put Florida’s Long-Term Competitiveness Ahead of Short-Term Political Fixes

TALLAHASSEE (November 17, 2015) – As the Florida Chamber enters its 100th year of fighting for business, the Florida Chamber of Commerce today unveiled its 2016 Competitiveness Agenda – a comprehensive legislative agenda that focuses resources and expertise to advance jobs, growth and greater economic opportunities for Floridians. Florida’s Competitiveness Agenda builds on 104 pro-jobs bills passed and signed into law in the last five years, and is helping position Florida to be America’s number one private sector job creator.

Although there are more than 30 scored items in the 2016 agenda, here is a sample of what will make Florida more competitive:

  • A tax climate that helps generate job growth (we support a $1 billion cut),
  • A talented workforce to fill those jobs (continued education reform),
  • A diversified economy, and further improving Florida’s business climate (we support the $250 million Florida Enterprise Fund and other improvements to EFI),
  • A quality of life that includes science-based water policy, and
  • Smarter healthcare outcomes through transparency, competition and ending the cost shift.

Looking at Florida’s economic horizon, it’s clear Florida is making positive strides. More than 941,000 private-sector jobs have been created since Governor Rick Scott was first elected, approximately 3,000 regulations have been eliminated or improved, more than one billion in taxes have been cut, and Florida’s unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in seven years.

Looking forward, Florida Chamber Foundation Chief Economist Jerry Parrish projects that by December, Florida will have created one million net new private-sector jobs since Governor Scott was elected, and he projects that Florida will create 220,000 new jobs in 2016.

“While Florida is moving in the right direction, now is not the time to be complacent,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “Florida is in competition for private-sector jobs with other states, and therefore we must ensure a tax and business climate that is welcoming to job growth, ensure that we have a talented workforce to fill those jobs, ensure that Florida’s quality of life provides sustainable water resource solutions and that we lower the cost of healthcare through better outcomes. Now is the time to put Florida’s long-term economic security ahead of short-term political fixes.”

Based on input from Florida Chamber members, local chambers of commerce, partner associations, research, and unfinished business from 2015, the Florida Chamber’s 2016 Competitiveness Agenda is a blueprint of legislative priorities that it will lobby, track and score this Legislative Session.


To lower the cost of living and the cost of doing business, the Florida Chamber recommends approximately one billion dollars in targeted tax cuts as follows:

  • Phasing out the Business Rent Tax (taxes on commercial leases),
  • Continuing to phase out the corporate income tax,
  •  Permanently eliminating the sales tax on manufacturing machinery and equipment, and
  • Supporting sales tax holidays on back-to-school items and hurricane preparedness.


Talent is the new economic development currency. A quality education is the best way to ensure students can compete in a global economy, and therefore the Florida Chamber recommends:

  • Staying the course on school grades, and issuing school grades this year, and
  • Providing educational opportunities and economic independence for individuals with unique abilities.


To build the perfect business climate, the Florida Chamber recommends:

  • Investing in Florida’s Enterprise Fund,
  • Fixing Florida’s broken legal system by addressing Assignment of Benefits and Fair Settlement lawsuit abuses, and
  • Engaging a workers’ comp legislative solution if the Florida Supreme Court rules against job creators and in favor of trial lawyers in pending court cases.


To secure Florida’s water future, and avoid California’s mistakes, the Florida Chamber recommends science-based water policy that will:

  • Help ensure a clean and abundant water supply,
  • Reduce the prospect of “water wars” among users in resource-limited areas, and
  • Promote strategic partnerships between the public and private sector in achieving water resource development goals.


Whether or not the legislature expands Medicaid, the Florida Chamber recommends reducing the cost of healthcare by:

  • Greater transparency – whether pricing outcomes or value of procedures or facilities – provides greater competition and is a win for Florida families,
  • Eliminating healthcare fraud and abuse through innovative practices and technologies,
  • Allowing telemedicine to serve as an alternative healthcare delivery system to increase capacity, deliver high quality of care and control costs, and
  • Increasing the capacity and number of medical professionals by allowing nurse practitioners and physician assistants to practice to their fullest potential.


A complete listing of the Florida Chamber’s 2016 Competitiveness Agenda which outlines more than 30 priorities the Florida Chamber will be lobbying, tracking and scoring this Legislative Session, is outlined in Where We Stand and available at www.FloridaChamber.com.


The Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations, aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.

Court Sides With Students Over Unions Judge Throws Out Lawsuit Against Tax Credit Scholarships

Approximately 70,000 students will continue to receive educational opportunities thanks to a decision by a Florida judge to dismiss a lawsuit against tax credit scholarship and school choice programs.

This Florida Chamber-supported program, created in 2001 by former Governor Jeb Bush, allows businesses to provide scholarships for students from low-income families to attend high-quality private schools, helping to break generational poverty by providing students with exponentially greater educational opportunities for success.

“In Florida, we’re way beyond sitting back and letting the status quo roll over students’ opportunities and lives,” said Patricia Levesque, Executive Director of Foundation for Florida’s Future in a statement. “The unions do not speak for the tens of thousands of parents and teachers embracing choices that make success possible for more and more students every year.”

The Florida Chamber believes talent is quickly becoming Florida’s new economic development currency. The Florida Chamber will continue to support programs that empower parents, provide students with learning opportunities and help our state succeed.

Take Action Now

Join us at the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Education Solutions Summit, June 9 in Tampa and hear form Education Commissioner Pam Stewart. Register today!

ICYMI: Florida Chamber Foundation’s Career and College Readiness Program Focuses on Talent Pipeline, Quality Education and More

As the school year gears up, students throughout Florida are meeting new teachers and preparing for new classes. Many are also thinking about graduating from high school and their future direction. Today’s information-based economy and the workforce students are stepping into is very different from their grandparents’ workforce.

In 1973, workers with postsecondary education held only 28 percent of jobs. As we look forward to 2020, that figure rises dramatically. In the not too distant future, 65 percent of all jobs will require post-secondary education and training beyond high school.

Preparing students to graduate career and college ready has a new meaning in our 21st century global economy. In addition to core subjects such as reading, math and science, today’s students must also master key skills such as critical thinking and problem solving, communication and collaboration.

Dr. Jim Murdaugh, President of Tallahassee Community College (TCC) recently appeared on The Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line. When asked about education and the talent development pipeline in Florida, Murdaugh said, “The way in which we talk about it [talent] today has a new flavor. We recognize the importance of the men and women that work in our organizations as it relates to our bottom line and our productivity. It’s not so much about jobs but about skills and making sure people have the right skills. Talent is what businesses need to focus on because it’s 80-90 percent of their entire cost of operation.”

While the skills required for today’s workforce are numerous, so are the opportunities and choices students have as they plan their future. Community and state colleges play vital roles in preparing tomorrow’s workforce and offer a variety of technical training and certification programs as well as providing two-year college degrees. They also have the flexibility and ability to evolve and customize their programs in response to the needs of their region’s economy.

 “TCC and community colleges throughout Florida provide the education and training required for our state’s workforce needs,” said Murdaugh. “Through our partnerships with local businesses, the Department of Economic Development and CareerSource Florida, we are able to provide a better trained, better skilled talent pool.”

As students consider their future path, Career and Professional Education (CAPE) academies offer other options. CAPE academies allow students to earn industry certifications, preparing them with job skills needed in a variety of industries including avionics, biomedicine, diesel mechanics and information technology.

And while many consider preparing students to be career and college ready a K-12 issue, this preparation actually begins at birth. Early childhood education, particularly between ages 0-8, is essential for a child’s development of both cognitive and non-cognitive skills. Preparing our youngest students to learn provides a solid foundation and helps them develop important skills that are essential to their future success in school.

The Florida Chamber Foundation has established the Business Alliance for Early Learning that will focus on tackling a number of issues impacting children ages 0-8. If you would like more information on this initiative, click here.

With postsecondary education or training becoming the norm for today’s workforce rather than the exception, it becomes even more important for students to begin learning these 21st century skills. To help accomplish this, the Florida Department of Education implemented the Florida Standards, the next generation of standards that focuses on improving student’s critical thinking skills to ensure more successful outcomes after graduation. These standards are designed to help Florida’s students begin to develop the skills needed to be successful as well as cultivate a workforce that will benefit Florida’s economic development and global competitiveness.

As we begin the new school year, the Florida Chamber Foundation continues to support and highlight our state’s Champions for Career and College Readiness. In upcoming issues of the Champions newsletter, we will focus on university programs and their role in preparing Florida’s talent pipeline.

Interested in being a part of the Career and College Readiness program? Let us know! Join Tallahassee Community College and our growing list of organizations and business leaders by telling your story. If your organization is partnering or conducting activities with a local school or school-related organization that helps students prepare for a 21st century workforce, we would like to feature your organization in our next Champions newsletter. Contact Tracey Lowe at TLowe@FLFoundation.org for more information.

The Florida Children’s Council Invites You to the 2014 Future of Florida Forum

Dr. Brittany Birken,  Florida Children’s Council, invites you to attend the 2014 Future of Florida Forum, September 29-October 1 at Disney’s Yacht & Beach Convention Center in Orlando. Spend 48 hours with Florida’s top business, policy, state and community leaders to secure Florida’s future.

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