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Tallahassee Democrat: Destination resort jobs would be real

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Rick Derrer – My View

As a general contractor, I have seen many sister companies involuntarily close their doors and cut employees over the last few years.

This decline has left the industry with an unemployment rate of more than 20 percent. Sadly, the lack of work will continue because of the postponement of the Destination Resorts Act this legislative session.

Last October, Florida’s construction and development associations heard details about the construction of three destination resorts and realized the potential lifeline this kind of project would provide. As a result, we formed a cohesive group to stand behind this project called Jobs 4 Florida. The coalition encompasses five of the largest construction associations in the state: Associated General Contractors, Associated Builders & Contractors, Construction Association of South Florida, Latin Builders Association and the Engineering Contractors of America. Collectively, Jobs 4 Florida represents more than 10,000 professionals and countless family members who heavily rely on this industry.

In order for Jobs 4 Florida to endorse destination resorts, we had to realize the actual job creation benefit. We knew the legislation required at least a $2 billion investment in development. From this starting point, we were able to calculate approximate job numbers. We used basic job production methods to calculate the employment opportunities. Here is the breakdown:

• Labor is between 30 percent and 40 percent of the value of any construction project.

• If you take the average, 35 percent, and multiply that by $2 billion, you get $700 million for labor.

• The average construction worker costs about $30 an hour.

• There are 2,080 working hours in a year multiplied by $30 an hour to equal $62,400 a year.

• Dividing the $700 million by $62,400 equals 11,218 jobs.

• The 11,218 jobs divided by the two-and-a-half years it would take to build the resort results in 4,487 jobs created per year per resort.

• We multiplied 4,487 by three destination resorts, coming up with 13,461 new construction jobs.

This project would create a long-term fix for Florida’s economy. The construction industry welcomes new infrastructure and relies on new work projects as its lifeline. Beyond gaming, the revenue generated as a result of these facilities includes direct, indirect and induced jobs as well as increased business.

Jobs 4 Florida looks forward to supporting any forthcoming efforts in order to obtain approval for this project. I believe Destination Resorts will be the answer to our states stale tourism and stagnant project development and add to Florida’s already many wonderful attractions.

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