Central Florida is experiencing mass layoffs, while Florida's unemployment drops to its lowest in 12 years

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Even as the state's unemployment level dropped to 3.3 percent last month, the lowest in 12 years, more Central Florida workers lost their jobs amid mass layoffs this year than any year since 2010.

According to employer reports to the state under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, a law that requires companies to notify the state 60 days prior to laying off more than 50 workers or 33 percent of their employees, more than 2,000 people in Orange, Osceola, Lake and Seminole counties were laid off this year.

Across Florida, 17,868 mass layoffs were reported in 2018, the highest since the Great Recession peaked in 2009 – the largest of which in Central Florida took place at the Carlton Palms Educational Center in Mount Dora, where 272 jobs were cut after the facility was shuttered in October, following years of allegations of abuse against patients.



Retail took a shellacking too. In November, C&S Wholesale, a distributor for the Florida-based Southeastern Grocers family of supermarkets, such as Winn-Dixie and Fresco y Mas, announced it was nixing 205 employees. Winn-Dixie then closed 94 stores nationwide in March, including three based in the Orlando area. And around that same time, following the closure of a store in Fern Park, Sam's Club laid off 173 workers.

For an economy that's supposed to be booming, booming, booming on all fronts, that doesn't make much sense, right?

It does when you take into consideration the further advent of automation.

The Pew Research Center estimates that the average hourly cost of a manufacturing worker in the U.S. is $36, compared to just $4 for a robot. It's figures like those that lead the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to estimate that 14 percent of jobs in advanced economies could become susceptible to automation and another 32 percent substantially changed, which in turn affects the lives of millions of workers, not just statewide or nationwide but worldwide, too.

So even with the good news there's bad news. Sorry.

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