Florida’s Jobless Rate Dips to 10.6 Percent in May
Around the State
Florida's unemployment rate dropped slightly again in May, falling 0.2 percentage points to 10.6 percent overall, according to numbers released Friday by the state Agency for Workforce Innovation.
It's the Sunshine State's lowest unemployment rate since August 2009, when the jobless rate was also 10.6 percent. The numbers mark a year-over-year decline in the jobless rate of 0.7 percent. There are 980,000 unemployed workers out of a total work force in the state of 9.25 million, and there were 28,000 nonagricultural jobs added in May.
"Today's announcement that unemployment continues to drop and businesses continue to add thousands of jobs shows that Florida's economy is moving in the right direction. Our unemployment rate is now the lowest it has been in 21 months, and we can expect our state‘s heightened focus on economic recovery to spur additional job growth in the months ahead," said AWI director Cynthia Lorenzo.
Gov. Rick Scott exulted in the numbers, which show a fifth straight month of declining unemployment, coinciding with his term in office. The state unemployment rate is still ahead of the national rate, which stands at 9.1 percent, but the U.S. jobless rate is up slightly over the previous month.
“Florida is leading the nation in job creation and our unemployment rate has dropped for the (fifth) straight month, a huge win for Floridians. It is unfortunate the federal government can’t say the same thing for the rest of the country. Our efforts to make Florida the most business-friendly state are clearly paying off and we are bucking the national trend," Scott said.
The total number of nonagricultural jobs in Florida last month was 7.24 million, reflecting an increase of 24,900 jobs from May 2010.
The added jobs revealed a continuance of recent trends. The leisure and hospitality industry is driving the job gains, posting 45,100 more jobs than 12 months ago -- an increase of 4.9 percent. The private education and health services (24,500 added jobs), trade, transportation, and utilities (10,500 added jobs) and professional and business services (6,600 added jobs) sectors also saw job increases over the year.
Much of those gains, however, were wiped out by business sectors that have continued to struggle in the wake of recent deep economic recession. There were 14,300 less construction jobs in Florida last month than in May 2010, a reflection of the troubled housing market. The rampant foreclosures and vacancy rate in the state has wrecked the construction industry, which has lost more than half of its jobs since the peak of the housing boom last decade.
The information (4,700 lost jobs) and financial activities (1,300 lost jobs) sectors also gave back jobs over the year, but it was government jobs that saw the steepest decline. Losses in federal government jobs drove the majority of the 41,500 government jobs that were shed over the past 12 months in the state, but that was due mainly to the loss of workers involved in the 2010 U.S. Census.
“This is the first time that government has led the job losses, but most of it is federal government because again, a year ago, we had the Census workers,” said AWI chief economist Rebecca Rust.
Construction losses were also behind the 3,600 jobs lost in the Cape Coral-Fort Myers metro area over the year, the second largest losses among Florida’s metro areas. The Space Coast metro area of Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville posted the most year-over-year job losses with 6,800, due mainly to the imminent retiring of the space shuttle program.
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