State works to improve unemployment

Florida is actively working to find value-added employment opportunities for its residents through entrepreneurship and job placement programs.

Since September 2001, the state’s unemployment rate has been on a steady rise according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Unemployment was at 5.7 percent for August 2002 compared to 4.9 percent in August 2001.

Florida ties with Idaho, New Jersey and Pennsylvania for the 30th lowest unemployment rate according to the bureau in a ranking of all the states and U.S. territories.

South Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate with 2.6 percent and Puerto Rico has the highest with 12.1 percent.

To help lower Florida’s unemployment rate the state government has initiated several incentives to attract businesses to Florida that will create jobs for citizens. One is a tax break. The Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund will give anywhere from $3,000 to $8,000 per pre-approved value added jobs that it creates, not to exceed $3 million per company, according to the E-Florida website.

Other incentives, according to the website, are centered around workforce training. The Quick Response Training Incentive is “a customer-driven training program designed to assist new value-added businesses and provide existing Florida businesses with necessary training for expansion.”

Additionally, the Incumbent Worker Training Program is designed to train current workers to keep Florida’s workforce competitive and to maintain existing businesses.

Another attempt to help entrepreneurs and bring business to Florida is the Streamlined Permitting and Regulations Plan.

Florida created this plan to assist businesses in obtaining necessary permits and paperwork in a timely fashion.