2017: Hurricanes Irma & Maria
In 2017, Hurricane Irma made landfall on the State of Florida, racking up between $60 to $100 billion in damages stemming from business disruption, prolonged unemployment periods, transportation and infrastructure damages, crop loss, fuel prices, and property damage. To complement the state’s organized recovery effort, Geographic Solutions collaborated with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity to launch the Disaster Recovery Jobs Portal.
This site played a significant role in the state’s reemployment effort after many businesses were temporarily, and in some cases, permanently closed. In the weeks following the storm, the site’s traffic spiked with an influx of hundreds of thousands of job seekers actively looking for work. A large number of employers also utilized the site to create hundreds of new job listings, many of which revolved around relief aid.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Florida led the nation in net private-sector job losses in the third quarter of 2017, a decline of about 134,000 jobs. As a testament to the Disaster Recovery Jobs Portal’s influential role in the state’s economic recovery, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics job reports show that Florida had a net gain of 214,372 private-sector jobs in late 2017 – an uptick in the state’s ranking from worst to first nationwide in job creation. Aside from job creation and placement, job seekers also utilized the site to create résumés, apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance, and find education and training opportunities
The portal’s success as an important recovery resource influenced Geographic Solutions to create a similar portal for residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico following the impact of Hurricane Maria later that month.