For the past 10 years, the red line you see in the graph above, the line that represent’s Flagler County’s unemployment rate, has been the outlier. The line for several years marked the county with the worst unemployment in the state, and with one of the worst unemployment rates of any county in the nation. The red line has been falling steadily and at times sharply for the past four years, but the gap between it and the state and national rates kept it as an outlier.
For the first time in a decade, Flagler County’s unemployment rate in April matched the exact average of Florida’s, falling to 4.5 percent, itself the latest post-recession low, and getting close to, if not reaching, what is considered full employment. Flagler’s unemployment rate is now just a decimal point above the national unemployment rate of 4.4 percent.
For the past year, and with just a couple of exceptions, the county’s unemployment rate has managed to remain flat or to fall, and to do so despite a sharp increase in the local labor force, which has grown by about 1,000, or 2 percent, since last May. The county has seen the number of residents with job increase by about 1,400 over the period, to 43,706, while the number of the unemployed has fallen to just 2,000.
In April, the number of the unemployed fell by almost 200, though the labor force shrank almost equally, and the overall number of Flagler County residents with jobs fell by 100. The number of job-holders does not reflect the number of jobs in Flagler County-Palm Coast, but rather the number of county residents holding jobs anywhere in the region, including Flagler and surrounding counties. A job is not necessarily full time: a worker needs only to have recorded an hour’s work in the period covered by the unemployment report to count as a person holding a job.
Gov. Rick Scott marked today’s unemployment numbers by noting their new milestone, with the 4.5 percent rate being at its lowest since September 2007. As is customary with this governor, he pointed out only private sector job creation in a release issued by the labor department, which stood at 15,000 in April, though it masks a sharp drop in public-sector jobs, held by 11 to 12 percent of the workforce. Some 3,700 jobs were lost in government in Florida last month, most concentrated in state and local jobs. So the state’s actual job creation was 10,900, still a healthy number.
CareerSource issued the following highlights about the area’s jobs picture:
• The unemployment rate in the CareerSource Flagler Volusia region (Flagler and Volusia counties) was 4.3 percent in April 2017. This rate was 0.5 percentage point lower than the region’s year ago rate of 4.8 percent. Out of a labor force of 295,527 there were 12,579 unemployed residents in the region.
• In April 2017 nonagricultural employment in the Deltona‐Daytona Beach‐Ormond Beach MSA was 200,800, an increase of 3,000 jobs (+1.5 percent) over the year. The Deltona‐Daytona Beach‐Ormond Beach MSA was tied with the second fastest annual job growth rate compared to all the metro areas in the state in mining, logging, and construction (+9.2 percent) in April 2017. It had the second fastest annual job growth rate compared to all the metro areas in the state in trade, transportation, and utilities (+5.4 percent) in April 2017.
• The industries gaining in jobs over the year were: trade, transportation, and utilities (+2,000 jobs); mining, logging, and construction (+1,100 jobs); professional and business services (+500 jobs); other services (+400 jobs); and government (+200 jobs). The leisure and hospitality (‐800 jobs); education and health services (‐300 jobs); and manufacturing (‐100 jobs) industries lost jobs over the year.
The full unemployment report is below.