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Flagler Unemployment at 13.8%, Lowest Since 2008; Florida’s Improves to 10.8%

| May 20, 2011

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While Flagler County’s economic development brigades continue to talk about doing something about unemployment, the county’s jobless rate fell in April to 13.8 percent, the lowest level since December 2008. The labor force, however, has shrunk by 2.5 over the past 12 months. The number of employed Flagler County residents has also shrunk by 439, or 1.5 percent, which suggests that while unemployment is falling significantly, local job creation is not yet the reason as much as migration out of the county or people dropping off the unemployment rolls as benefits run out.

Yet the employment climate overall is unquestionably improving statewide and nationally, with private-sector job creation powering the way. Questions remain about sustainability.

Flagler County kept its distinction at the top of the state’s 67 counties in unemployment, with Miami-Dade coming in second, at 13.2 percent, and Hernando third, at 12.9 percent.

Florida’s unemployment rate fell to 10.8 percent, the lowest rate in 20 months, as the number of unemployed Floridians finally fell below 1 million, to 996,000. The state created a net 14,900 jobs overall.

Sector by sector, leisure and tourism added the most jobs (10,000) over the month, most of those in food services. Retail added 8,000, management added 1,400, health care and social assistance added 3,200, and government, reversing a long trend, added 2,100 jobs, most of those in local governments. State government actually lost 700 jobs.

On the losing end, wholesale trade lost 1,900 jobs, transportation and warehousing lost 2,300, financial activities lost 1,200, professional business services lost 2,100, and administrative and waste services lost 4,100. Construction, a perennial loser, lost a modest 200 jobs, perhaps signaling a leveling off.

“I remain focused on job creation, so it is great news that this trend is continuing in the right direction,” Scott said. “With tax relief for property owners and elimination of taxes on about half of the businesses that currently pay, I believe we are on the path to getting Florida back to work.”

Whether his administration gets the credit for the latest drop will likely be open to interpretation.

Taken as a whole, Friday’s figure was cause for cautious optimism, said Sean Snaith, an economist at the University of Central Florida who tracks Florida’s economy.

“Our diagnosis has been upgraded from ‘critical’ to ‘serious,'” said Snaith, the director of UCF’s Institute for Economic Competitiveness.

But Snaith has cautioned that the state’s long-term economic strength may not return to 2007 levels for several years. Before that, the state’s housing glut must be absorbed, so new construction can begin again.

“For the labor market to fully stabilize, we need to see the labor force growing, the number of payroll jobs growing and the unemployment rate going down,” Snaith added. “We’re seeing gradual improvements, but there’s still significant healing to go, and it’s a process that will take years.”

–FlaglerLive and News Service of Florida.

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9 Responses for “Flagler Unemployment at 13.8%, Lowest Since 2008; Florida’s Improves to 10.8%”

  1. Jojo says:

    The numbers are skewed. I keep telling you that as the unemployed fall off the grid (completed unemployment benefits) they are no longer counted as unemployed.

    As each month comes and goes, the number of unemployed receiving unemployment insurance have exhausted their unemployment benefits. This will continue into the early months of 2012 when most unemployed will have exhausted their benefits if they have not found work before that.

    The Department of Labor does not keep figures on people that have exhausted unemployment figures and I doubt neither does Florida. The DOL does have a medicine man antiquated system to interpret people still unemployed but no where is it an exact science.

    I find it disheartening that Gov Rick Scott has taken credit for the drop in unemployment when it is a fallacy to think otherwise. The opening of Olive Garden and Red Lobster created a few hundred jobs but no where for the unemployment rate to drop to what it is without taking into consideration the amount that have exhausted unemployment benefits already.

  2. William says:

    So, as usual, jobs increased (slightly) in the service industry.

    Where are the manufacturing jobs? Until we see real growth in that category the unemployment battle will be a long, slow slog. There is very little, if any, gain that will come from doing each other’s laundry for a fee.

    Sayeth Skeletor: “Let’s get to work.”



  3. The Truth says:

    Positive Employment News: Thank you Rick Scott!

    Negative Employment News: Damn you Obama!

  4. John Smith says:

    Oh my god Truth you really think that Scott is the savior he is doing his typical self thing and taking the credit. The people are just NOT on the unemployment payroll anymore. Oh ye he found those jobs at the 2 new food joints for everyone really. He is a terd and needs to be flushed.

  5. William says:

    Hey Truth,

    That’s a joke, right?

  6. The Truth says:

    John Smith and William: I forgot to point out that I was being extremely sarcastic in my first post :)

    Now, let’s get to work.

  7. William says:


    I thought you might be, but one can’t be sure considering some of the commentary from la la land, both here and elsewhere. Thanks for clearing that up.

    In cases where my meaning might be misread, I’ve found the addition of /snark to be very useful. For example:

    The Republican legislature and Gov. Scott have finally addressed the 36 instances of voter fraud in Florida. /snark


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