Florida’s jobless rate keeps dropping

Florida’s unemployment rate was 5.3 percent in August, down 0.2-percentage point from the revised July rate of 5.5 percent (reported as 5.4 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 August, down 0.2-percentage point from the 5.3 percent of the previous month. In Madison County, it was 6.1 percent, from the 6.4 percent of July and in Jefferson County, the jobless rate for August was 6.0 percent, down from the 6.2 percent of July. Statewide, 507,000 Floridians were jobless in August out of a labor force of 9,500,000 — not counting persons who had given up the job search, were underemployed, or employed part time. Florida’s seasonally adjusted total nonagricultural employment, meanwhile, was 8,119,200 in August — an increase of 19,600 jobs over the month, according to the FDEO. Seasonally adjusted means that the numbers have been 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 6.1 percent translates into 472 jobless persons out of a labor force of 7,726, compared with 493 jobless persons out of a labor force of 7,650 in July, when the rate was 6.4 percent. All told, 7,254 people were employed in Madison County in August, compared with 7,157 in July.

In August 2014, the comparable figures were 616 jobless persons out of a labor force of 7,895 and 7,279 employed when the unemployment rate was 7.8 percent. For Jefferson County, the 6.0 percent translates into 325 jobless persons out of a labor force of 5,415, compared with 337 jobless persons out of a labor force of 5,409 in July, when the rate was 6.2 percent. All told, 5,079 people were employed in Jefferson County in August, compared with 5,072 in July. In August 2014, the comparable figures were 371 jobless persons out of a workforce of 5,490 and 5,119 employed when the unemployment rate was 6.8 percent. Statewide, the industry gaining the most jobs was private education and health services, up 59,700 jobs; followed by leisure and hospitality, up 55,600 jobs; trade, transportation and utilities, up 48,300 jobs; professional and business services, up 36,100 jobs; construction, up 25,700 jobs; financial activities, up 12,700 jobs; other services, up 11,300 jobs; government, up 7,200 jobs; and manufacturing, up 6,100 jobs. The information sector continued to lose jobs over the year; it was down minus 1,000 jobs. Monroe County continued to have the state’s lowest unemployment rate at 3.7 percent, followed by St. Johns County at 4.0 percent; Franklin County at 4.3 percent; and Okaloosa County at 4.5 percent. Hendry County continued to have the state’s highest unemployment rate at 12.2 percent, followed by Hardee County at 9.0 percent; Glades County at 7.9 percent; and Highland County 7.8 percent. Hendry County’s was the only double-digit unemployment rate in the state, according to the FDEO.

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