Florida’s unemployment rate in January improved slightly, to 7.8 percent, while Flagler’s unemployment rate retreated again to 11 percent, from a revised 10.8 percent in December.
Because of the quirky lag time in Florida’s reporting of unemployment figures at the beginning of a new year–when January and February figures are released within a fortnight the second half of March–the state’s labor department seized on the opportunity to say that Florida’s unemployment rate was lower than the nation’s for the first time since January 2008. In January 2013, the national unemployment rate was 7.9 percent, though it fell to 7.7 percent in February. Florida’s February numbers will be released on March 29.
Flagler’s unemployment rate again fell to second-worst, toggling the bottom spot with Hendry County, where the unemployment rate was 11.4 percent. Putnam is third-worst, at 10.9 percent, followed by Dixie at 10.1 percent. Monroe County has the smallest unemployment rate, at 4.6 percent, followed by Walton, at 5.6 percent.
The state’s labor department has followed Gov. Rick Scott’s lead in its news releases, fully taking credit for the recovery, though the trend in Florida has been similar to that in the rest of the nation, where the economy continues to improve despite political setbacks and a government-spending austerity, as well as recession in Europe (hurting American exports) that, together, have dampened the economy’s fuller potential. In percentages, Florida’s unemployment rate has fallen more steeply than most other states’ between 2010 and 2012, but that’s largely because Florida’s unemployment rate had been among the highest in the nation.
If anything, Florida’s job creation (as opposed to its unemployment rate) has lagged other that in other states. In January for example, employment increased in 34 states and the District of Columbia and decreased in 16 states, but the largest over-the-month increase occurred in Michigan (+26,500), followed by Washington (+24,100) and Massachusetts (+16,100). Florida did not rank in the top-10 job-creating states for the month. For the year, Florida added 127,500 new jobs. The state added 15,400 jobs in January, essentially erasing a 15,300 job loss the previous month. But the state’s unemployment rate still ranks it 33rd out of 50.
Regional and state unemployment rates were little changed in January, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Monday. Twenty-five states and the District of Columbia recorded unemployment rate increases, 8 states posted decreases, and 17 states had no change. Forty states and the District of Columbia registered unemployment rate decreases from a year earlier, seven states experienced increases, and three states had no change.
In Flagler County, the unemployment rate had fallen in December even as 76 fewer people held jobs. The reason: the labor force had shrunk by 239. In January, there again was a drop of people holding jobs–of 154 people–to just 31,034 people with jobs, out of a labor force of 34,880, which declined by 66 from the previous month. Over the year, the labor force has grown by 515. In January, 3,846 people in Flagler were drawing unemployment. That’s not the full reflection of the county’s unemployment rate, which does not include people who have quit looking for work, or people working part-time because their hours were cut back, or because they cannot find full-time work.
Over the month, no single job sector in Florida experienced either a significant job gain or job loss, with every sector recording activity below 1 percent–and most of them recording activity below 0.5 percent. Administrative and waste services recorded the highest net job gain, with 3,300, or 0.6 percent. Health care and social assistance added 2,800 jobs, a 0.3 percent increase. In the loss column, transportation, warehousing and utilities lost 1,700 jobs, or 0.7 percent, and accommodation and food services lost 1,400 jobs, or 0.2 percent. Federal government jobs declined by 700 in the state, a 0.5 percent cut, but grew by 700 state and 700 local government jobs.
Here are some numbers relevant to the Flagler-Volusia labor market, released by the Daytona Beach-based Center for Business Excellence:
The unemployment rate in the Center for Business Excellence region (Flagler and Volusia counties) was 8.6 percent in January 2013. The January 2013 rate was 1.6 percentage points lower than the region’s year-ago rate. The state unemployment rate was 0.6 percentage point lower than the region at 8.0 percent. Out of a labor force of 283,786, there were 24,327 unemployed residents in the region.
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach Metro Area:
- Nonagricultural employment in the Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach metro area (Volusia County) was 155,600 in January 2013. Total nonagricultural employment was up 3,100 jobs (+2.0 percent) over the year. Statewide employment increased by 1.8 percent over the same time period.
- Seven of the ten major industries gained jobs over the year, led by leisure and hospitality (+1,300 jobs); trade, transportation, and utilities (+1,100 jobs); education and health services (+600 jobs); mining, logging, and construction (+400 jobs); manufacturing (+200 jobs); and financial activities (+100 jobs).
- Government (-900 jobs) was the only industry that lost jobs over the year.
- Information and other services remained unchanged over the year.
- Leisure and hospitality (+6.1 percent); mining, logging, and construction (+5.6 percent); trade, transportation, and utilities (+3.7 percent); manufacturing (+2.4 percent); and financial activities (+1.3 percent) employment grew faster in the Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach metro area than in the state
Palm Coast Metro Area:
- Nonagricultural employment in the Palm Coast metro area (Flagler County) was 20,200 in January 2013. Total nonagricultural employment was up 400 jobs (+2.0 percent) over the year. Statewide, employment increased by 1.8 percent over the same time period.
- Five of the ten major industries gained jobs over the year, led by professional and business services (+300 jobs); trade, transportation, and utilities (+200 jobs); and mining, logging, and construction, financial activities, and leisure and hospitality (+100 jobs each).
- Government (-200 jobs) and manufacturing and information (-100 jobs each) lost jobs over the year.
- Education and health services and other services remained unchanged over the year.
- Professional and business services (+15.0 percent); financial activities (+14.3 percent); mining, logging, and construction (+12.5 percent); trade, transportation, and utilities (+5.7 percent); and leisure and hospitality (+3.3 percent) employment grew faster in the Palm Coast metro area than in the state.
- The Palm Coast metro area had the highest employment growth rates in professional and business services (+15.0 percent); financial activities (+14.3 percent); and mining, logging, and construction (+12.5 percent) for all metro areas in Florida.