Paycheck Protection Program designed to
keep people working.
Dockside has been more fortunate than
most restaurants in the area, Zebrowski
said, because the marina and hotel were
often at or near capacity as South Floridians
fled the Miami and Fort Lauderdale
area where restrictions were more severe
than for the Treasure Coast. Also, Dockside
already had a food truck, which it kept on
site. Its restaurant made about a quarter of
its normal business despite the shutdown.
June unemployment figures in the area
are expected to continue to improve,
but that depends in part on how the U.S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics conducts its
monthly surveys, labor analysts said.
There have been claims that portions of
the survey were not conducted properly in
April and May, which lowered the unemployment
rates, and that an adjustment
could hike those rates. Still, the sense of
business is that without another spike in
virus cases, improvement will continue.
Amid the optimism, Zebrowski cautioned
that “it is still difficult water to
navigate. They took our barstools away the
other day,” referring to the state’s late June
move to shutter bars for the second time
in the virus era.
Data issued in June by the state shows
that the share of workers in the leisure and
hospitality industry was 15.4% in Indian
River County, 15.2% in Martin, and 12.8%
in St. Lucie.
HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY SUFFERS
Of the Treasure Coast workers who
defined the industry they work for when
filing for unemployment benefits, now
termed by state officials as Reemployment
Assistance, about 24 percent were in accommodation
and food services.
Statewide, there were 792,500 workers
in the leisure and hospitality category in
May, down 37% from May 2019. Four in
five of those employees work in hotels and
restaurants, a segment that fell 35% from a
year earlier, the rest in arts, entertainment
and recreation, which was down 42%.
Nearly all of the clients of CareerSource
Research Coast want help finding a job. In
February, the number of clients seeking
job-finding assistance was a fraction of
that, largely because unemployment rates
along the Treasure Coast were at historic
lows, said Tonya Woodworth, CareerSource
CareerSource, a private, nonprofit
agency with four offices on the Treasure
Coast, offers workforce training, development
of work skills, and other career
assistance. It also helps people navigate
the Florida unemployment benefits and
Florida counties with the highest May
unemployment rates, Osceola, 31%,
and Orange, 23%, have Kissimmee and
Orlando and Disney World, and are more
reliant on out-of-state visitors than most
areas, Parrish said.
CONSTRUCTION NOT AS ACUTELY
In the most recent available report for
May, construction was the only major category
of Florida workers to show a yearon
year gain, a modest one of 0.9 percent,
an increase that surely would have been
higher without the virus, Parrish said.
Many of the statewide strictures that
hemmed in many business sectors did
not apply to construction, and major
construction projects are planned months
in advance, therefore not immediately
reliant on disposable income of consumers,
said Landrum of the Florida DEO. Plus,
said Parrish, construction road crews took
advantage of the paucity of traffic to make
repairs and make new roads. v