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Unemployment Falls Sharply to 9.2% in Flagler, But County’s Workforce is Thinner By 1,000 Over the Year

| December 20, 2013

Click on the graph for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Click on the graph for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Florida’s unemployment rate fell sharply in November, to 6.4 percent, as did Flagler County’s, to 9.2 percent, the lowest levels in five years, as the state added a net 6,100 jobs–a disappointing figure in and of itself, but less so in the context of continuing positive trends.

Flagler County’s unemployment figures improved again but not because of net new job creation: there were 92 fewer jobs in the county over the month, and 82 fewer unemployed people. But the labor force lost 174 people over the month, continuing a trend that has persisted for more than a year: the county’s workforce has shrunk by precisely 1,000 people over the year, a worrisome sign echoed by a shrinking or stagnant school population. The county’s population has been increasing slightly, according to the latest estimates by the University of Florida, but those moving in are older and retired–the sort of new residents who make more demands on local services than contribute to the local economy, except through spending on goods and services.

There were 599,000 jobless Floridians out of a labor force of 9,395,000. That unemployment figure however does not reflect the underemployed or those who have dropped out of the labor force altogether, either because they are discouraged or because state restrictions on who may qualify as unemployed have forced them off the unemployment rolls.

When that so-called U-6, or alternative measure of unemployment is taken into account, Florida’s unemployment and under-employment rate is 14.6 percent, one of the highest in the country, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state’s news release never mentions the alternative unemployment measure.

Gov. Rick Scott announced the monthly numbers at Full Sail University in Winter Park. “We’ve cut taxes, made government more efficient and provided more services to families,” Scott said in a prepared statement. “The result: we are creating an opportunity economy that supports more than 446,000 new private sector jobs since December 2010.”

A Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research report released Monday contrasts sharply with the governor’s assessment of the economic recovery, noting that 59.3 percent of the state’s drop in unemployment is due to people dropping out of the labor force or delaying entry, not because of new job creation. “Florida’s prime working-age population (aged 25-54) is forecast to add about 3,400 people per month, so the hole is deeper than it looks,” the report notes. “It would take the creation of about 850,000 jobs for
the same percentage of the total population to be working as was the case at the peak.”

“If the participation rate had held steady since 12/11, the unemployment rate would have been 8.3 percent” in October, the economic report said.


A Tampa Bay Times investigation published earlier this month also cast serious doubt on Scott’s interpretation of the economic recovery as “the first comprehensive review of his efforts shows few successes and hundreds of unfulfilled promises,” the paper found. “Of the jobs Scott can influence most, only a fraction now exist. Scott has pledged $266 million in tax breaks and other incentives in return for 45,258 new jobs. But 96 percent of the jobs have yet to materialize, according to state data.”

Flagler remains the county with the second-worst unemployment rate in the state, topped only by Hendry County, with 11.3 percent, and followed by Putnam, at 8.4 percent. Monroe County had the state’s lowest unemployment rate (3.7 percent), followed by Walton (4 percent), Okaloosa (4.5 percent) and Alachua and St. Johns counties (4.9 percent). St. Johns and Alachua aside, the counties with the lowest unemployment rates were those with relatively high proportions of government employment.

Because the net job gains were slight, various sectors saw only small improvements. Those took place in manufacturing, education and government. Construction, financial activities and tourism saw employment numbers drop.

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7 Responses for “Unemployment Falls Sharply to 9.2% in Flagler, But County’s Workforce is Thinner By 1,000 Over the Year”

  1. Glad I left Palm Coast says:

    Count me as one of the 1000 who left. No opportunity to survive in Flagler County, jobs don’t pay shit!!!! Its a fuedal system there. I am glad I left when I did, new job is much better with pay, a $30,000 raise I got moving back up north. Yeah warm and sunshine doesn’t pay the bills. Flagler will never change, it was good while it lasted, time to pay the piper.

    • Glad I left Palm Coast says:

      I will clarify my earnings, my last full tax year in flagler was 2011, I made $27,000 as a heavy equipment operator. 2012 was a transition year since I left in the middle of the year. 2013 full year back up north my earnings will be $60,000. This why I left, so I can build on my retirement have equity in my new house I am building. No water bill that starts at $60 a month before I turn the water on. No red light camera’s, cheaper auto insurance rates, better healthcare, cheaper home owners insurance, when was the last time anyone in Florida paid $500 a year for homeowners insurance? I live in a relative crime free town, house break ins are rare, no murders, no robberies, no rapes, no gangs, why because the town has very little section 8 housing, very few minorities, of those minorities they are hard working contributing to the system. I don’t miss Flagler at all, I do miss the friends I had made during the years down there. I will come back to visit but not to stay.

  2. Holler says:

    I moved out earlier this year after the town was smothered with Red Light Cameras!

  3. Sandra Sites says:

    And to add insult to injury, Governor Scott is completely uninterested in the continuing problems with the “new” unemployment assistance website (excuse me, that is now called REemployment assistance). Rolled out October 15th of this year, more and more people are unable to log on, apply, speak to anyone in customer support or get any information on what is going on with the new website. Governor Scott gives the recorded response of “my interest is in getting more people in jobs”, YES – BUT the people who need help NOW are those who are out of work and depend on the nominal help offered by unemployment benefits to get them through until a job is obtained! I’ve spoken to people at the jobs center who haven’t received any money for over 8 weeks, with no other resources. I am at 4 weeks with no benefits myself, but am lucky to have other resources.. The staff at the Flagler One Stop Job Center are trying their best to help educate the unemployed who go there, develop resumes, fill out applications, interview, etc., and also try to assist in navigating the unemployment website, but they are at a loss as what is being done to fix it.

  4. Genie says:

    Flagler county is the problem and always has been. So is the city of Palm Coast. BOTH are not business friendly. Stop blaming the state.

  5. Red says:

    First of all Palm Coast is a town that was originally developed for a retirement age of people that have money and dont need to work or people that have a ample enough income to live here. The town is now being invaded by younger generation that have no morals or ethics. So, if crime is picking up it is because it is the class of people that are moving here Laws are laws! If you run red lights you get a ticket….so, stop running red lights! You got the ticket all on your own the cameras didn’t do it to you! Start teaching your children right from wrong and stop blaming the City and County for their degenerate behavior! If you live in a home that you can’t afford the mortgage or rent, apparently your salary is not ample enough to support you in this area. This town does its best to keep the landscaping and roads in good shape, there are those of you who continue to trash the streets. I see it every day! Garbage thrown out of your windows and not to mention your yards looking terribly unkept and cared for….just pure trashy behavior! I am sick to death of hearing the constant griping about Palm Coast and Flagler County. So, please do leave and move back to where ever you are happy and can afford to live and leave us that are happy here and can afford to live here (because we have worked towards being able to) in peace!

  6. Red says:

    First of all Palm Coast is a town that was originally developed for a retirement age of people that have money and dont need to work or people that have a ample enough income to live here. The town is now being invaded by younger generation that have no morals or ethics. So, if crime is picking up it is because it is the class of people that are moving here. Laws are laws! If you run red lights you get a ticket….so, stop running red lights! You got the ticket all on your own the cameras didn’t do it to you! Start teaching your children right from wrong and stop blaming the City and County for their degenerate behavior! If you live in a home that you can’t afford the mortgage or rent, apparently your salary is not ample enough to support you in this area. This town does its best to keep the landscaping and roads in good shape, there are those of you who continue to trash the streets. I see it every day! Garbage thrown out of your windows and not to mention your yards looking terribly unkept and cared for….just pure trashy behavior! I am sick to death of hearing the constant griping about Palm Coast and Flagler County. So, please do leave and move back to where ever you are happy and can afford to live and leave us that are happy here and can afford to live here (because we have worked towards being able to) in peace!

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