Despite Slight Fall in Unemployment Rate, Flagler and Florida Lose Jobs in August
FlaglerLive | September 20, 2013
One set of unemployment numbers show a continuing positive trend in Florida and in Flagler County: the state’s unemployment rate fell a fraction, to 7 percent, in August (from 7.1 percent the previous three months), and fell to 10.1 percent in Flagler County.
But those numbers don’t translate into good fortunes for actual workers. Florida lost a net 4,700 jobs in the past month.
In Flagler, even though the unemployment rate fell from an upwardly revised 10.5 percent the previous month, the drop was caused less by new jobs than by a sharp reduction in the labor force. The number of Flagler residents with jobs actually shrunk by 181, to 31,112. The labor force shrunk by 327, to 34,623. That labor force has shrunk by more than 1,000 people since last year, a 2,9 percent reduction that also explains why the school district’s enrollment has been stagnant.
The unemployment rate also improved in Volusia County, where it fell to 7.1 percent from 7.4, in St. Johns, where it fell to 5.2 from 5.6 percent, and in Putnam, where it fell sharply to 9.4 percent, from 10 percent the previous month. But Flagler remains the county with the second-worst unemployment rate in the state, after Hendry’s 15.5 percent.
Gov. Rick Scott skipped over the job losses to focus on the declining unemployment rate in a statement after the numbers were released: “Today’s announcement,” he said, “is great news for Florida families as the state’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.0 percent in August. Since December 2010, the unemployment rate has dropped 4.1 percentage points and Florida has created 365,500 new private sector jobs. This is evidence that our pro-growth and business friendly policies are working.”
More objective numbers belie the governor’s assessment, however, especially locally: the proportion of people on food stamps in Palm Coast has risen from 4.3 percent in 2008 to 10.3 percent in 2012, while the Census Bureau’s annual report on income and poverty, released this week, shows most income groups (except the richest) continuing to lose ground: Florida’s poverty rate of 17.1 percent in 2012 is still among the highest in the country, and the 10 percent income decline that Florida households experienced during the Great Recession has yet to be reversed.
The Census Bureau this week reported that the median household income in Flagler County in 2012 was $42,856, a significant decline from the $50,180 median of 2009. The Census Bureau reported that 18 percent of the local population lives below the poverty line. The proportion is 24.5 percent for families with children under 18. Older people do better: the poverty rate is 10.4 percent among those 65 and over. The local housing and real estate industries had been the main drivers of the economy. Housing sales have been improving, however.
Looking at the August jobs report’s finer print, there were 7,543,700 Floridians with jobs. Manufacturing added 2,400 jobs, a 1.2 percent gain, over the month. Wholesale trade added 4,100 jobs (1.3 percent), finance and insurance added 2,200 (0.7 percent), health care and social assistance added 1,000 jobs (0.1 percent), and arts, entertainment and recreation added 1,700 jobs (0.9 percent). In the loss column, private service providers lost 9,100 jobs (a 0.2 percent decline in one of the state economy’s largest sectors), retail trade lost 2,200 jobs (0.2 percent), real estate lost 2,500 (1.5 percent), education services lost 5,300 (3.6 percent), restaurants lost 6,100 jobs (0.7 percent), and government lost 2,300 jobs, most of those at the federal and local levels.
Some local details:
The unemployment rate in the Center for Business Excellence region (Flagler and Volusia counties) was 7.5 percent in August 2013. The August 2013 rate was 1.9 percentage pointslower than the region’s year-ago rate. The state unemployment rate was 0.4 percentage point lower than the region at 7.1 percent. Out of a labor force of 286,734, there were 21,420 unemployed residents in the region.
Palm Coast metro area
• Nonagricultural employment in the Palm Coast metro area (Flagler County) was 19,800 in August 2013. Total nonagricultural employment was down 600 jobs (-2.9 percent) over the year. Statewide, employment increased by 1.7 percent over the same time period.
• There were no industries gaining jobs over the year.
• Leisure and hospitality; trade, transportation, and utilities; information; other services; professional and business
services; and government(-100 jobs each) lost jobs over the year.
• Manufacturing; financial activities; mining, logging, and construction; and education and health services remained
unchanged over the year.
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach metro area
• Nonagricultural employment in the Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach metro area (Volusia County) was 155,500 in August 2013. Total nonagricultural employment was up 1,300 jobs (+0.8 percent) over the year. Statewide employment increased by 1.7 percent over the same time period.
• Four of the ten major industries gained jobs over the year, led by trade, transportation, and utilities, and leisure and hospitality (+800 jobs each); mining, logging, and construction (+300 jobs); and manufacturing (+200 jobs).
• Government(-600 jobs); and other services and professional and business services (-100 jobs each) lost jobs over the year. Information, financial activities, and education and health services were unchanged over the year.
• Manufacturing (+2.4 percent); and leisure and hospitality (+3.5 percent) employment grew faster in the metro area than in the state.
The full report is below.