Florida’s jobless rate drops to 5.2 percent

Florida’s unemployment rate was 5.2 percent in September, a 0.2-percentage point drop from the revised August rate of 5.4 percent (reported as 5.3 percent last month). This according to the latest jobless figures released by the Florida Department of Economic Development (FDEO). The U.S. unemployment rate, meanwhile, was 5.1 percent in September, the same as in August.  In Madison County, the rate was 5.8 percent, down from the revised rate of 6.2 percent in August (reported as 6.1 percent last month). In Jefferson County, the jobless rate was 5.5 percent, down from the revised rate of 6.1 percent in August (reported as 6.0 percent last month). Statewide, 497,000 Floridians were jobless in September out of a labor force of 9,532,000 — not counting those who had given up the job search, were underemployed, or employed part time. Florida’s seasonally adjusted total nonagricultural employment, meanwhile, was 8,113,900 in September — an increase of 2,100 jobs over the month, according to the FDEO.

Seasonally adjusted means the numbers are purged of seasonal and other factors that could skew the results. The numbers for the individual counties, however, are not seasonally adjusted. For Madison County, the 5.8 percent translates into 446 jobless persons in September out of a labor force of 7,662, compared with 480 jobless persons out of a labor force of 7,742 in August, when the rate was 6.2 percent. All told, 7,216 people were employed in Madison County in September, compared with 7,262 in August. In September 2014, the comparable figures were 554 jobless persons out of a labor force of 7,864 and 7,310 employed when the unemployment rate was 7.0 percent. For Jefferson County, the 5.5 percent translates into 305 jobless persons in September out of a labor force of 5,548, compared with 328 jobless persons out of a labor force of 5,421 in August, when the rate was 6.1 percent.  All told, 5,243 people were employed in Jefferson County in September, compared with 5,093 in August. In September 2014, the comparable figures were 365 jobless persons out of a workforce of 5,662 and 5,297 employed when the unemployment rate was 6.4 percent.

Statewide, the industry gaining the most jobs was leisure and hospitality, up 58,100 jobs, followed by private education and health services, up 50,200 jobs; trade, transportation and utilities, up 44,500 jobs; construction, up 26,700 jobs; professional and business services, up 26,300 jobs; financial activities, up 15,000 jobs; other services, up 12,200 jobs; manufacturing, up 3,500 jobs; and government, up 1,300 jobs. The only major industry that continued to lose jobs over the year is information, down 1,900 jobs. Monroe County continued to have the state’s lowest unemployment rate at 3.6 percent, followed by St. Johns County at 3.8 percent; and Franklin and Okaloosa counties at 4.3 percent each.            Hendry County continued to have the state’s highest unemployment rate at 11.4 percent, followed by Hardee County at 8.6 percent; and Glades and Highland counties at 7.3 percent each.  Hendry continued to be the only county with a double-digit unemployment rate in September, according to the FDEO.

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