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Unemployment Rates in Flagler and Florida Improve Even as 15,300 Fewer Have Jobs

| January 18, 2013

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

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

It has been four years and a month since unemployment in Flagler County was as low as it was in December: 11.2 percent. In November 2008, it was 11.3 percent, and going up fast. Florida’s December unemployment rate of 8 percent, announced this morning, is also at a four-year low.

A significant caveat, however: Florida, as it has on a few occasions through the recovery, failed to add jobs. The state lost 15,300 jobs in December, an indication of the weakness of the recovery and the discouragement of workers seeking jobs. The unemployment rate nevertheless fell because fewer people are considered unemployed–and more people are dropping off the labor force entirely: Florida’s limits on unemployment collection are among the shortest in the nation, and rules imposed on the unemployed to qualify for benefit are among the harshest.

The same caveat applies in Flagler: the unemployment rate fell in December, from November’s revised rate of 11.6 percent. But 76 fewer people were employed, and the labor force shrank by 239. Flagler County’s total population is around 97,000, but its labor force is only 33,400.

In another setback for Flagler’s image, the county is again the title holder among Florida’s 67 counties for worst unemployment rate. Hendry County, which had held the top spot for months, is in fourth place. Putnam County is second, with an unemployment rate of 10.1 percent. St. Lucie is third, with 10 percent. All other counties’ rates are below 10 percent. Monroe has the best rate, at 4.5 percent. St. Johns’s is among the best, at 6.2 percent.

Looking at Florida’s jobs picture month-over-month, financial activities lost 3,900 jobs (almost 1 percent of the workforce in that sector), construction lost 3,500 jobs (1.1 percent), information lost 2,100, professional and business services lost 5,500 jobs (0.5 percent), education and health lost 2,100 (0.2 percent), and arts and entertainment lost 2,2900 (1.1 percent).

On the plus side, trade, transportation and utilities added 3,400 jobs (a 0.2 percent increase), led by 1,800 jobs in retail, and hotels and food services added 2,500 jobs. That’s about it: all other sectors were flat.

Initial unemployment claims (which the state euphemistically refers to as “re-employment claims”) were down by 4.6 percent from a year ago while continued claims were down from an average of 553,000 in December 2010 to 270,181 for the week ending January 12, a 51 percent decrease.

Gov. Rick Scott put a brave face on the latest numbers: “Florida’s unemployment rate is down to eight percent, its lowest in four years,” he said in a release. “Trends show that we are also experiencing growth in many different economic indicators that are key to job creation. Housing starts are on the rise, businesses and families continue to move to Florida and more jobs are being created. The changes we are making to improve our state’s business climate are helping Florida families pursue the American dream.”

The full report is below.

Florida’s Unemployment Report, December 2012 (released Jan. 2013)

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10 Responses for “Unemployment Rates in Flagler and Florida Improve Even as 15,300 Fewer Have Jobs”

  1. The Truth says:

    What I have a hard time understanding is how 15,300 less have jobs. What are these people doing for a living? How are they surviving? It makes me wonder sometimes if these people who are “dropping out of the workforce” are just simply not working because they don’t want to work a job that they feel they shouldn’t have too. The work environment right now is improving, but it’s still a long way away from where it needs to be. Sometimes, we have to suck it up and work somewhere we don’t want to just to get ourselves back on our feet. This happens to everyone at all times, not just during rough times.

  2. Nancy says:

    Good question. How are these people surviving? I know I couldn’t without a job or income from some source, so I guess they are either on the government dole or family dole.

  3. Monica Campana says:

    Wonder how much of this problem is due to the area’s largest employer giving their employees a 3% deduction in salary for the last two years. Now it is up to 5% with the withholding increase. Expect more of the same.
    *FCEA met with Florida legislative reps about Flagler issues two years ago but they 1. were unaware of our unemployment status 2. felt they owed the larger populace a $ shift. They approved the deduction without increasing salaries and shifted tax dollars from the retirement fund into resolving budget deficit issues. The ensuing lawsuits have cost our state:
    Retirement plans: $533,911.25 (including $499,288.25 to an Atlanta firm)
    Voting overhaul: $144,971.75 (all to a Washington D.C. firm)
    Welfare drug tests: $88,782.80
    Healthcare overhaul: $69,827.21
    The loss of dollars in the local economy has cost us much more.

  4. Bruno says:

    Take a look at all the people riding bikes and jogging. NOBODY seems to be working here in Palm Coast except a few county workers and the young ones at McDonalds and Wendy’s. Stores like Kohls and Bealls have all WOMEN working the cashier postions and most are over 60 and part time hours. More HOMELESS are around if you look closely. There are NO JOBS here. Many people are LEAVING !!!
    Hopefully a few of the large GUN manufactures that are leaving New York will build here in Flagler County.

  5. J MILLER says:

    Is “improve” the best word to use?

  6. DWFerguson says:

    Being the worst in the state is a result of too strong a Local focus as a retirement haven—-The county, the cities, Can Do Better….It Will, once all the emphasis gets laser like attention to creating opportunities for GROWTH, Employment and greater disposable income..It would help if Washington would stop trying to change social policy and get out of the way of small business progress. Having health insurance is great, but most people prefer to have a job FIRST and foremost.

  7. BrunoTars says:

    @Truth & Nancy

    Have you looked around when driving in Palm Coast – do your see people begging.

    “The unemployment rate nevertheless fell because fewer people are considered unemployed–and more people are dropping off the labor force entirely: Florida’s limits on unemployment collection are among the shortest in the nation, and rules imposed on the unemployed to qualify for benefit are among the harshest.”

    These numbers are not accurate by a long shot. It’s all smoke and mirrors for that idiot Governor we have. When people have expired their unemployment they immediately fall off being counted to the unemployment figures. Do you know how hard it is to get a job today? Have you any idea? You are so good to give answers to these people maybe you should provide input to the Governor and the people out of work. There is nothing but service jobs in Palm Coast. Even the Olive Garden has cut back drastically on work hours. We have politicians in this town and Governors and Representative Mica who has done nothing for this County. Oh, did Mica send his two tax payer transportation buses to us f this year –
    Useless is what they are. Lost the FAA jobs to another state. Start paying to bring companies for a tour of Flagler County to entice them to settle here instead of paying these big salaries.

  8. confidential says:

    Local unemployed residents are doing odd jobs, moonlighting, part time, on commission only jobs, helped by relatives while looking to no avail for full time jobs. They are off the unemployed roll books all 15,300 of them. So if our businesses sales are not doing so well maybe this is the reason.
    Is better that our unemployed exercise riding bikes and jog if so, to rid their frustration of not finding back their full time jobs, than would be staying home overeating and watching TV or maybe abusing substance. All the one’s here that victimize our unemployed allover again with derogative critique probably do it while comfortably enjoying their retirements some conveniently forced on them before the financial debacle. These are the same individuals that undermine our teachers while demanding more from the battered middle class to give to the wealthy. And just in case, I am not unemployed and to the contrary making a good living, but I do not look my surroundings thru the windshield prism of a Lexus while heading to S. for an overpriced latte.

  9. Monica Campana says:

    School enrollment has always been my easiest current indicator to access and interpret how we are doing. We see students enroll and drop out as the library makes their ID’s and checks whether they are leaving with books (when their parents withdraw them officially). During the boom (2004-2006) we were adding kids at almost one hundred per month. ITMS began the 2012 school year with almost 850 7th-8th grade students. Friday we were down to 809. We ended 2010/11 with 907. Something is wrong. Families move where the jobs are. Most are not staying here collecting welfare or living in cars or living with family members. They are leaving. If we don’t revive our economy, there will be no one left to take care of the elderly we cater to.

  10. Gia says:

    There is still way too many in this area.

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