After seven months of gains that had recovered more than half the jobs lost in spring, the national economy lost 140,000 jobs in December as the coronavirus pandemic worsened and efforts to contain it failed, with a president largely absent from governance and leadership since before the election.
Flagler County’s unemployment rate in October was 5.7 percent, down a statistically insignificant decimal point from the previous month, and consumer confidence statewide again dropped in a reflection of the sharply worsening covid pandemic locally and statewide.
Flagler County’s labor force had been setting records and moving toward the 50,000 mark just before covid struck. It is now at 45,902, down from 47,459 a year ago. There are 2,700 fewer unemployed persons in the county today than there were a year ago.
The number of people with jobs in Flagler increased to 43,000, up 2,200 from the previous month, but still more than 4,000 workers short of where the labor force stood a year ago, suggesting that thousands remain on the sidelines.
The number of people holding jobs remains 12.9 million (or 8.4 percent) below February’s level. The current unemployment rate is 6.7 percentage points above that of February.
The number of unemployed fell from 6,100 in May to 4,371 in June in Flagler, pointing to a substantial rebound, though the surge in Covid-19 cases statewide and in Flagler since the June 5 Phase 2 reopening is casting doubt on the extent of the recovery.
In April, the number of jobless Flagler County residents was at 6,795, a number never seen in Flagler’s or Palm Coast’s history. The figure is an undercount: many more have filed for unemployment since, according to weekly initial claims.
The April figures are an undercount, as they represent only a partial survey of actual job losses in April. Those losses are closer to 30 million or more, according to the cumulative total of first-time unemployment claims filed over the past few weeks.
More than one in 10 new jobless claims–505,137 first-time applications of the 4.4 million new claims–across the United States last week were made to Florida’s overwhelmed unemployment system.
In Florida, the last four weeks of claims totals 652,000 which, combined with 291,000 unemployed Floridians before the crisis–a five-decade low–approaches 1 million unemployed, placing the state’s current unemployment rate at around 9 percent and doubling Flagler’s unemployment rolls, past 4,000.