Florida's Unemployment Rate Below National Average, First Time in 5 Years
Around the State
Florida's unemployment rate was 7.8 percent in January, marking its lowest level since November 2008, according to information released by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Monday.
The biggest takeaway from January’s jobless numbers was the fact it has dipped under the U.S. jobless average for the first time in five years. Florida’s unemployment rate in January came in a tick under the national rate of 7.9, the first time the Sunshine State has not outpaced the national jobless average since January 2008. It was also just under the state’s revised December rate of 7.9 percent.
Florida added 127,500 jobs year over year in January, with 7,467,500 total jobs. January also marked the 30th consecutive month with an uptick in job growth.
It came as welcome news to the “Let’s Get to Work” governor, who pointed out Florida’s unemployment rate has dropped 3.3 percent under his watch.
“Everything we do is geared toward job creation,” said Florida Gov. Rick Scott. “Today, we have more proof that it’s working. We have added more than 280,000 private-sector jobs over the last two years, and as we continue to focus on greater economic growth, we will see even more jobs created.
“Other states chose to raise taxes. Other states chose to increase debt. In Florida, we chose the course of economic growth and greater job creation by cutting taxes and paying down debt for the first time in decades by $2 billion.”
Trade, transportation and utilities added the most non-agricultural jobs with 35,500. Leisure and hospitality was not far behind with 34,000 jobs.
With Florida’s housing market on the rebound, construction was up 7,400 jobs year over year, making it 18th in the nation for number of construction jobs added. According to the Associated General Contractors of America, construction employment expanded in two-thirds of all states in January.
Business groups embraced the news. The Florida Chamber credited the spirit of the private market, tweeting, “@FlGovScott is right, free enterprise is working.”
Although it’s good news to most, there were still 740,000 jobless Floridians in January. February’s benchmark unemployment data is scheduled for release on March 29.
Anne Smith writes special to Sunshine State News.