News & Features » News

First Words: Hardly working

comment
1620496.jpg

Hardly working

Great column (“Rick Scott’s confusing jobs message,” Jan. 15). But it’s even worse in three ways:

1) Orlando’s record tourism growth has occurred during a virtual disappearance of our construction industry and massive decline in manufacturing jobs, so that local politicians’ goals of growing non-tourism jobs instead resulted in a larger percentage of tourism jobs than at any time in the past 33 years (I have the latest data to show it).

2) The other large metro area in Florida, Miami, has also seen record growth in tourism equal to Orlando’s. Yet they don’t do it with theme parks at all. Miami has become the place to be (and to be seen), attracting people from all over the world who spends lots of money while they are doing it.

3) Although the wonderful sarcasm in your article may sound cynical to some, it actually is far too kind to an economic analyst like myself. Specifically, any tourism operation has a very strong economic interest in keeping the workers it its local labor market “barefoot and pregnant.” In most of the U.S., the labor force is the main asset, so you invest in educating and training residents. In contrast, Orlando theme parks, hoteliers, restaurants and others in the tourism industry do not view local labor as a primary asset or even as an asset at all. Why? Because they know that if local wages ever were allowed to rise above the national average, it would kill their industry. There are NO high-wage tourism areas in the world. Vegas, based on casinos designed to strip gambling addicts of their life savings, was supposed to be the exception, but that turned into a Nevada desert mirage. Tourism requires cheap labor that survives on tips. Los Angeles learned that and grew beyond dependence on tourism. Tourism must be a means to an end, not an end itself.

Dr. Mark D. Soskin, associate professor of economics, College of Business, University of Central Florida

Tags

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.