Unemployment rates drop across North Central Florida

UF students added to nature's beauty at the ARC of Alachua county.
Published: Sep. 16, 2022 at 1:36 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB/News Service of Florida) - Historically low unemployment rates continued to drop in many North Central Florida counties during the month of August.

In Alachua County, the unemployment rate dropped 0.1% from July to August. Both Alachua and Union counties reported a rate of 2.7%, the same as the rate for the state of Florida in August.

Columbia, Union, and Clay counties all dropped 0.2% in the last month. Clay County reported the lowest rate in the region at 2.5%.

The highest unemployment rate in the region was in Putnam County at 4.0%. The next highest was Marion County at 3.5%.


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Florida’s unemployment rate might be about as low as it can go, as it remained at 2.7 percent in August. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity on Friday released a report showing the rate unchanged from July.

The agency estimates 293,000 Floridians were out of work in mid-August, an increase of 10,000 from July. The labor force also grew by 49,000 to 10.7 million.

Jimmy Heckman, the department’s chief of workforce statistics and economic research, says while the state has seen very consistent unemployment rate decreases over the past couple of years, economic theory would indicate the current number is close to the bottom.

”As Florida continues to grow, as people continue to come into the labor force, we are just going to start to see growth in all areas of the labor market, employed and unemployed alike,” Heckman said. “As long as that unemployment rate stays low, I don’t see that as a negative sign.”

Heckman adds that the state hasn’t yet seen inflation and other national economic forces affect the job market. The 2.7 percent unemployment rate matches the level before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the state in 2020 and caused business cutbacks and closures.

Florida lost 1.28 million jobs from February 2020 to April 2020. The state estimates it has regained those lost jobs and added 1.65 million more. Florida’s unemployment rate has been below the national level for 21 consecutive months.

Private sector industries gaining the most jobs in August were Leisure and Hospitality, Education and Health Services, and Other Services.

“Florida has the lowest unemployment rate among the 10 most populous states and the highest number of new business formations because we have encouraged workforce development, kept the economy open, and put Florida families first,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.

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