Florida funeral homes have seen their jobs in the state grow 5 percent in the past year.
The Florida Association of Funeral Homes, which represents funeral homes across the state, reports that more than 2,200 of the state’s 1,000 funeral homes are open.
But funeral homes also are seeing their competition from more lucrative non-profit and government funeral services, which are making up a growing share of the industry.
“We’ve seen a big increase in non-profits,” said Michael J. DeFrisco, president of the Florida Association, which has about 300 funeral homes.
“There’s a big trend toward what we call social networking, where there are more opportunities for people to get together.
We’re also seeing a lot of government and nonprofit funeral homes, which we’ve had a few years ago, and they’re now taking a lot more of that market share.”
In addition to being more competitive with the non-funeral services, funeral homes and funeral homes themselves are also seeing more turnover in the industry as they age.
De Frisco said that in 2014, he expects the number of full-time workers in Florida funeral houses to grow from 6 percent to 8 percent in 2023, and that by 2024, there will be nearly 1,400 full-timers.
Some of the biggest changes to the industry in recent years are a shift in how funerals are funded, as the government will now cover funeral costs.
The cost of cremation has dropped by about $100,000 since 2004, but the costs of embalming and interment are still higher.
De Friscos family, for example, had to pay $3,000 for a cremation at their funeral home in 2009.
In 2016, De Frisos family had to wait more than a year for the cremation to be done, when the funeral home received a federal loan from the U.S. Treasury to cover costs.
“We have to be able to afford it,” De Frisco said.
“The way the funeral industry is structured, there’s no room for us to have a $3 million cremation.”