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31 July
In Florida, the Summer months bring drastic shifts in employment. Restaurants, retailers, resorts and other enterprises must balance their staffing needs in respect to the exodus of seasonal customers that are present in the winter and spring. The lack of tourism results in lower rates of patronage among businesses throughout the state. This migration impacts hospitality and retail industries significantly.

Finding a balance between adjusting an enterprise's staffing needs and avoiding large scale job cuts is a difficult task for employers. Jim Wall, spokesperson for CareerSource Southwest Florida spoke to the role seasonal employment has on hiring policies for Florida businesses.

"That's just an inevitable part of our labor market and our economy as long as thousands of people come here to enjoy the winter in Southwest Florida, businesses must hire to meet that demand, but then must decide how to deal with the summer months when demand lags." Wall said.

The impact that seasonal employment has on Florida's unemployment rate is clear. While unemployment rates have remained at their lowest in years during the winter and spring months, those percentages are expected to rise during the summer. Florida's Department of Economic Opportunity cited 4,400 job cuts in three Florida counties during April and May alone.

The impact of seasonal job cuts is empirically supported by an examination of Lee County's unemployment rates. In May, unemployment was measured at 5.8 percent within the county. That rate rose to 6.1 percent in June. The same can be said of Collier County, whose unemployment rate rose from from 5.4 percent to 5.8 percent in the same time span.

While the rise in unemployment rates from May to June highlights the difficulty businesses have in retaining their employees long term, a juxtaposition of unemployment rates in those same months from 2013 forecasts optimism. Last year, the unemployment rates during the first month of the Summer were 7.7 and 7.5 percent for Lee and Collier country, respectively. Those percentages are significantly higher than this year's. The drastic decrease of Summer unemployment rates between 2014 and 2013 shows initiative on behalf of businesses aimed at turning seasonal employees into long term ones whose time and attendance can be articulated in line with fluctuations with seasonally affected consumer demand.

Jim Wall spoke to the initiative employers have taken to facilitate a less drastic impact on unemployment percentages during the Summer.

"We can't ignore that we are very heavily influenced by the fact that we have thousands of visitors who come to be with us every winter," Wall said. "Employers have to adjust for that and many of them have found creative solutions, such as allowing employees to work at stores elsewhere." he elaborated.

Wall's statement reflects the fact that job cuts made during the Summer months are directly tied to correlated drops in consumer demand for many industries. While there are less customers during this time of the year, they are all but guaranteed to return come winter. Implementing a staffing policy that enables employees to come back to work upon the return of consumers in the winter months requires unique staffing solutions.

Acustaf Development Corporation provides businesses with labor management systems that can enable them to implement staffing solutions that address the difficulties of managing seasonal employees. By utilizing labor analytics, employee scheduling can be implemented to retain seasonal workers without having to make drastic reductions in staff.