Unemployment Largely Stalled: 14.6% in Flagler, 10.6% in Florida; Scott in Brazil
FlaglerLive | October 21, 2011
Florida’s economy added just 23,000 jobs in September for a total of 92,400 jobs in the last nine months, barely making a dent against the 838,100 jobs lost in the state since the beginning of the recession, and with few signs that a stronger recovery is ahead. The state’s unemployment rate dipped a decimal point in September, to 10.6 percent, while Flagler’s dipped to 14.6 percent, in the same range where the numbers have hovered since last February.
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There are still about 1 million Floridians unemployed, at least officially. That number does not reflect the workers who have quit looking for work, or who are working part-time because they can’t find work.
The effective unemployment and under-employment rate for Florida, as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, is just under 20 percent. In other words, one out of five Floridian is out of work or under-employed. A large number of Floridians are quitting the job search because of new stringent regulations from the labor department that must be met to qualify for an unemployment check.
Flagler County remains the second-worst hit county in the state in unemployment, behind Hendry’s 17.6 percent rate.
Still, Gov. Rick Scott, speaking from Brazil, where is is traveling with 180 politicians, aides and business interests, touted today’s figures as an indication that Florida is recovering.
The largest job gains took place in educational services, which added 5,800 jobs, a month-over-month increase of 3.9 percent. Arts, entertainment and recreation were second-best, with a 1.6 percent increase, or 3,000 jobs, and food services adding 7,500 jobs. Otherwise, all other industries’ gains were either below 1 percent or in negative territory. Construction added 1,800 jobs, retail added 5,700, and transportation and warehousing added 2,200. In the loss column, manufacturing dropped 1,200 jobs, wholesale trade dropped 3,300, and government, a perennial job-loser month after month, lost another 1,000 jobs.
Florida’s department of labor was not quite on the job: until today, it released the monthly unemployment numbers almost on the dot at 10 a.m. Not today. The numbers were held back until after Scott held a conference call with media to announce them in a brief speech touting his trip to Brazil. He did not take questions. The numbers were released 22 minutes late.
The jobs picture isn’t changing much in Florida. But the department of labor underwent yet another cosmetic change. It called itself the “Agency for Workforce Innovation” until last month. This month, its new name is the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
The full unemployment release is below.