Brainstorm: One voice needed

By: 
Nov. 25, 2010

Enterprise Flagler led an idea-swap last week. Palm Coast Holdings’ David Lusby: ‘What benefits one, benefits all.’

Enterprise Flagler welcomed the Jacksonville Community Council Inc. to town Wednesday, Nov. 17, at the Flagler County Association of Realtors building, to conduct a brainstorming session to ponder various solutions to the current local economic troubles.

David Lusby, vice president of commercial land sales for Palm Coast Holdings, said in a presentation at the session that Palm Coast and Flagler County have a lot to offer, but he indicated that a unified message is needed.

According to Lusby, just 40% of the county’s population is in the workforce. The state average is 60%, he added.

“If we have a population of 100,000, and 40,000 in our workforce, the difference between 10% unemployment and 16% unemployment is 2,400 jobs,” he said.

Lusby added: “If something is good for the city of Bunnell, it’s good for Flagler County … We need to have that unified effort. We have to live by the mantra that what benefits one, benefits all.”

According to its website, JCCI is a nonpartisan civic organization that engages diverse citizens in open dialogue, research, consensus building, advocacy and leadership development to improve the quality of life and build a better community in Northeast Florida and beyond.

The latest study JCCI is conducting is “Recession, Recovery and Beyond,” which is what the brainstorming session encompassed Nov. 17.

The JCCI study committee will continue to conduct studies in neighboring counties into next year. The study began in October and will continue through May 2011.

“Economic development isn’t short-term; it’s strategic, it’s long-term, it’s forever,” said Bruce Page, president and CEO of Intracoastal Bank, at the session.

UNEMPLOYMENT WATCH

Flagler County’s nonseasonally adjusted unemployment rate for October 2010 showed a 0.8% decrease from the previous month, and is currently at 15.5%, according to the latest numbers released Nov. 19 by the Agency for Workforce Innovation. September’s rate was 16.3%.

The metropolitan statistical area of Palm Coast continues to rank No. 1 with the state’s highest unemployment at 15.5%.

The most recent number shows Flagler’s unemployment as the second-highest rate of Florida’s 67 counties. Hendry County remains the highest in the state at 18.3%.

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained the same, at 11.9%, and is up from 11.4% in October 2009. The unemployment rate for the U.S. also remained the same, at 9.6%, but is down from 10.1% in October 2009.