Jacksonville Unemployment Drops to Six Percent

Florida Governor Rick Scott highlighted that the Jacksonville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) was among the top five metro areas in the state for job growth in October 2013 with 11,200 new jobs. The Jacksonvile MSA’s unemployment rate declined by 1.6 percentage points over the year, from 7.6 percent in October 2012 to 6.0 percent in October 2013.

Governor Scott said, “The creation of 11,200 new jobs last month is great news for the Jacksonville area. As the local unemployment rate continues to decline over the year and new jobs continue to be created, it is clear that it’s working for Florida families.”

In October 2013, the Jacksonville metro area was among the top two metro areas in Florida for gains over the year in professional business services with 7,500 new jobs and in construction with 1,500 new jobs.

Housing starts were up 28.6 percent over the year in the Jacksonville MSA in August 2013. In October 2013, the Jacksonville MSA was among the top five metros in Florida for online job demand with 24,765 openings and also ranked fifth for STEM job openings with 4,714 job ads. STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and these jobs are considered high wage and high skill.

Florida’s unemployment rate decreased to 6.7 percent in October 2013, down from 6.8 percent in September 2013 and 7.0 in August 2013, and down 4.4 percentage points since December 2010. The statewide unemployment rate has remained below the national average of 7.3 percent since March 2013. Florida has created 440,900 private sector jobs since December 2010.

Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.7 percent in October 2013, down 0.1 percentage point over the month, and down 1.5 percentage points from 8.2 percent a year ago.  The state’s October rate was the lowest since August 2008 when it also was 6.7 percent.  There were 625,000 jobless Floridians out of a labor force of 9,396,000.  The U.S. unemployment rate was 7.3 percent in October.  Florida’s unemployment rate was 0.6 percentage point lower than the U.S. rate and was below the national rate for the eighth consecutive month.

Florida’s seasonally adjusted total nonagricultural employment was 7,618,900 in October 2013, an increase of 44,600 jobs (+0.6 percent) over the month.  Compared to October a year ago, the number of jobs in the state was up by 182,200, an increase of 2.5 percent.  Florida’s annual job growth rate in October 2013 was the fastest since June 2006.  Nationally, the number of jobs was up 1.7 percent over the year.  Florida’s annual job growth rate has exceeded or been equal to the nation’s rate since March 2012.

United States and Florida Unemployment Rates (seasonally adjusted)

Source:  U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics Program, in cooperation with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Bureau of Labor Market Statistics.

Florida’s Nonagricultural Employment by Industry (Seasonally Adjusted)

  • • The number of jobs in Florida was 7,618,900 in October 2013, up 182,200 jobs compared to a year ago.  October 2013 was the 39th consecutive month with positive annual job growth after the state lost jobs for over three years.  The industry gaining the most jobs was trade, transportation, and utilities (+56,300 jobs, +3.6 percent).
  • • Other industries gaining jobs included leisure and hospitality (+39,500 jobs, +3.9 percent); professional and business services (+38,500 jobs, +3.6 percent); construction (+26,600 jobs, +7.7 percent); private education and health services (+15,100 jobs, +1.3 percent); financial activities (+9,000 jobs, +1.8 percent); other services (+3,000 jobs, +1.0 percent); information (+2,800 jobs, +2.1 percent); and manufacturing (+400 jobs, +0.1 percent).
  • • These industry job gains were partially due to increases in food and beverage stores; food services and drinking places; employment services; specialty trade contractors; ambulatory health care services; real estate; repair and maintenance; and fabricated metal product manufacturing.
  • • Total government (-9,000 jobs, -0.8 percent) was the only major industry losing jobs over the year.  All government sectors were down from October 2012, with over half of the losses in federal government.

Local Area Unemployment Statistics (Not Seasonally Adjusted)

  • • In October 2013, Monroe County had the state’s lowest unemployment rate (3.8 percent), followed by Walton County (3.9 percent), Okaloosa County (4.4 percent), Alachua County (4.7 percent), and St. Johns County (4.9 percent).  Many of the counties with the lowest unemployment rates were those with relatively high proportions of government employment.
  • • Hendry County had the highest unemployment rate (12.0 percent) in Florida in October 2013, followed by Flagler County (9.4 percent), St. Lucie County (8.8 percent), Putnam County (8.6 percent), and Miami-Dade County (8.5 percent).  Hendry County had the highest unemployment rate in the state in October, due mainly to long-term job losses in state government.  Hendry was the only county in Florida with double-digit unemployment in both September and October.

Area Nonagricultural Employment (Not Seasonally Adjusted)

  • • Twenty of the 22 metro areas in the state had over-the-year job gains in October 2013.  The areas with the largest gains were Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater (+39,800 jobs, +3.4 percent), Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (+29,100, +2.8 percent), and Ft. Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach (+18,900 jobs, +2.6 percent).
  • • The two metro areas that lost jobs over the year were Panama City-Lynn Haven-Panama City Beach (-2,200 jobs, -3.0 percent) and Palm Coast (-700 jobs, -3.4 percent).

The mission of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is to promote economic prosperity for all Floridians and businesses through successful workforce, community, and economic development strategies.  Please visit www.floridajobs.org for more information.

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