The state and local economies appear to have reached an equilibrium, with unemployment holding steady within a narrow range of just under 5 percent for the state and just over 5 percent for Flagler County.
In Flagler, the August unemployment rate was back down to 5.4 percent after rising for two successive months. In May, Flagler’s unemployment rate had reached a post-recession low of 4.9 percent. Employment remains healthy, if flat in recent months, with the same number of Flagler County residents holding jobs in August as in July (42,263). That doesn’t mean there are that many jobs in Flagler. Rather, any resident living in the county but holding a job anywhere, in Flagler or elsewhere, is counted in the employment column. It also does not mean that these are full-time jobs: to be counted, all one has to do is register a paid hour of work in a two-week period.
Still, the trend of job-holders has been bright for the past several years. In the past year, the county has added 1,408 job-holders, a 3 percent increase over the year. The labor force has also increased slightly, from 43,573 to 44,691, an increase of 1,118, a 2.6 percent increase in residents who, because they’re in their job-holding years, tend to reflect an increase in families moving to the county. It is also notable that the number of jobs created over the past year has outpaced the growth in the labor force, thus accounting for the lower unemployment overall. Some 2,428 people remain without work in the county, a decrease of about 300 in the past year.
In Florida, the unemployment rate remained at 4.7 percent for the fourth successive month, with 24,500 jobs created in August–just enough to keep up with the influx of people into the state, or new people added to the labor force. There were 454,000 unemployed Floridians in a labor force of just under 10 million. Florida’s unemployment rate has closely aligned with the national unemployment rate for the past several years, with the national rate at 4.9 percent.
But when Florida’s underemployment rate is added to its unemployment rolls, the state’s numbers are bleaker than the nation’s. The alternative measure of unemployment accounts for people working part time because they could not find full-time work, or because their hours were cut back. It also counts the traditional unemployed as well as those who have dropped out of the workforce altogether, for being discouraged. When all those numbers are accounted for, Florida’s unemployment and underemployment rate zooms up to 10.6 percent, higher than the national rate of 9.9 percent.
Looking at job sectors more closely, retail added 7,900 jobs in August, manufacturing added 4,800, professional and technical services added 2,900, health care and social assistance added 1,000, leisure and hospitality, 1,600, and government 1,900. Among job-losing sectors, real estate, rental and leasing lost 2,000 jobs, wholesale trade lost 1,000, mining and logging lost 1,200, and construction lost 1,200.
The full report is below.