Unemployment rates rise in North Central Florida, still at historic lows
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Historically low unemployment rates in Florida are starting to tick up according to data from October released by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
The state unemployment rate was 2.7 percent in October which is a full percentage point lower than the national unemployment rate. In Florida, unemployment rose by 0.2 percentage points from September.
The governor’s office attributes the rise in unemployment to the impacts of Hurricane Ian in Southwest Florida, however, North Central Florida counties experienced a similar increase in unemployment rates despite suffering little damage from the storm.
The largest increase in unemployment in the region was Alachua County with a 0.2 percentage point increase. However, Alachua County maintains the lowest overall unemployment rate in the region at 2.6 percent.
Marion County continues to report the highest unemployment rate in the region at 3.3 percent. Rates rose by just 0.1 percentage point in Columbia County.
The rates in Bradford and Levy counties remained the same from September to October.
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Florida’s unemployment rates rose in October, however, the labor force also grew by 36,000 and Florida’s private sector added 35,000 jobs. Southwest Florida was hit hard by Hurricane Ian causing the unemployment rate in the Fort Myers area to reach 3.9 percent, up 0.5 points
“Florida’s economic resiliency is unmatched in the country – no other state could withstand the direct impact of a Category 4 hurricane and continue to grow jobs in the same month,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “We have made record investments in our infrastructure and workforce while building a record budget surplus and providing record tax reduction for Floridians.”
In Florida, the leisure and hospitality sector gained the most jobs among all major industries, adding 14,100 jobs over the month of October, followed by education and health services, adding 8,200 jobs, and trade, transportation, and utilities, adding 8,200 jobs.
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