Home News Targeted industries on Treasure Coast anticipate continued hiring in 2023

Targeted industries on Treasure Coast anticipate continued hiring in 2023

Targeted industries on Treasure Coast anticipate continued hiring in 2023

The manufacturing and marine industry as well as tourism and hospitality are expected to remain strong employers on the Treasure Coast in 2023.

These targeted industries, as well as the logistics and distribution sectors are anticipated to continue to be hiring in 2023, said Maureen Saltzer, director of communications and outreach at the Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County.

She said Accel International Inc., of Meriden, Connecticut, a technology manufacturer for the aerospace, medical, industrial and computer markets, should be opening in the Tradition community of Port St. Lucie “hopefully sometime in the first quarter, hiring 125 to manufacture high-performance conductors.”

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Cassidy Kutner (left), a server at Chuck's Seafood Restaurant, talks with her customers during dinner hours on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022, in Fort Pierce. "A lot of people live close here, so they save money on gas getting here, so it doesn't cost a lot getting to and from work to make the money to pay for the rent," she said. Restaurant workers, among others in the hospitality industry, are among the most affected finding affordable housing in today’s economy.

Contender Boats is continuing to add to its workforce, after ramping up production in August, as are Pursuit Boats and Maverick Boat Group, she said.

Depending on how quickly construction can be completed, Cheney Brothers, in a manufacturing-and-distribution complex on about 400 acres at Becker Road and Village Parkway along Interstate 95, may start hiring in late 2023, Saltzer said.

“Supply chain issues have slowed down the pace of construction somewhat. And, while construction is not a targeted industry, there are still numerous crews and contractors working on building millions of square feet of industrial/logistics facilities throughout the St. Lucie County,”  she said.

Tourism and hospitality remain strong sectors of the employment market, with all three Treasure Coast counties seeing strong growth in revenue from bed taxes during the last year.

Nerissa Okiye, tourism director for Martin County, said she expects travel to increase to the Treasure Coast, particularly around holidays.

While he agrees travel and hospitality will remain strong on the Treasure Coast, Kirk Funnell, director of tourism and marketing for the Indian River Chamber of Commerce, said he sees a growing problem with the lack of affordable housing for workers at hotels, restaurants and other tourism venues.

With some hospitality workers earning $15 per hour, affording a place to live is next to impossible, Funnel said.

Brooke Hammond, a server at Chuck's Seafood Restaurant, carries dinners from the kitchen to her customers while working on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022, in Fort Pierce. Workers at restaurants, hotels, and other tourism venues have had challenges finding affordable housing.  "I had to find some place to rent. I had to go to an area I didn't want to, to be able to afford it," Hammond said.

Rent is up about 26% in the Port St. Lucie metro area and 12% for the Vero Beach-Sebastian metro area, according to RealPage, a real estate analysis firm.

“I have heard from several hotel owners that our hospitality workforce can simply not afford to live here,” said Funnell. “Until the workforce housing issue is resolved, I believe we will have employment issues specifically in the tourism industry.”

Also, inflation and a possible recession could force workers and businesses to take action to drive growth, cut costs and mitigate risks, said Brian Bauer, president and CEO of CareerSource Research Coast in Port St. Lucie.

“Measures could come in the form of reducing workforce to cut costs despite the ongoing labor shortage,” said Bauer. “From the job seeker perspective, boosting of income will be a top priority as well as continuing the fight for greater flexibility in the workplace.”

With resignations predicted to remain at all-time highs, Bauer said employers need to prioritize practices aimed at boosting retention to thrive. Some of these could include providing more flexible work environments; salary increases and other compensation; building personal relationships with team members; and being open to feedback.

Jared Montgomery, a server at Chuck's Seafood Restaurant, carries a drink order for his customers on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022, in Fort Pierce. Restaurant workers, among others in the hospitality industry, are among the most affected finding affordable housing in today’s economy. "I have family to help me out, thankfully," Montgomery said. "I did move from Vero Beach to Fort Pierce for a cheaper property."

Recent data from the Human Workplace Index Survey by Workhuman shows 36% of U.S. employees plan on leaving their jobs within the next year, despite the best efforts of employers to retain them.

About 30% of employees cite work-life balance as the reason for switching jobs, as well as the need to take their own mental health into consideration.

“Employers must invest in both sides by making significant investments in staffing to include focusing on ‘hybrid work’,” said Bauer. “Businesses that listen to employees’ feedback and prioritize freedom, trust, and flexibility are seeing positive impacts on their employees.”

Odense King dressed for success to meet potential employers at the Port St. Lucie Community Job Fair Wednesday, June 29, 2022, at the Port St. Lucie Community Center. Nearly 500 job seekers filled the venue while navigating through over 50 employers looking to fill positions on their staff.

Other trends to look for in 2023 according to the 2023 Hiring &spanmp; Workplspance Report relespansed by Glspanssdoor spannd Indeed include a continued tight labor supply; more remote working opportunities; better compensation and benefits; an increased focus on happiness and well-being; and more diversity, equity and inclusion in the workforce.


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