Jobless rates falling throughout Florida
Gary Pinnell | Highlands TodaySEBRING - Unemployment is on the run across Florida. The latest Florida Department of Economic Opportunity annual figures showed more workers had jobs in each of the 67 counties.
Published: January 23, 2013
Published: January 23, 2013
The Highlands County rate eased from 9.1 percent to 7.8 percent, comparing December 2011 to December 2012. In the previous month alone, the jobless rage plunged .7 percent.
Roger Hood, president of Heartland Workforce, doesn't envision the rate going much lower in the coming year.
What will happen, he suggested, is that Lykes Brothers and its partners may build America's Gateway import-export center in Glades County, and the Bio-Nitrogen Corp. may build its facility in Hardee County, and Highlands workers may commute for better jobs.
Currently, he said, "While we are seeing more job openings this year as compared to last year, most of the wages being offered are below what we know as the self-sufficient wage rate which has been established by the state at $12.80 per hour."
However, Hood noted, that's less than $27,000 per year. "It's tough to improve your quality of life at that wage rate."
Florida's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8 percent in December 2012, the lowest since 7.8 percent in November 2008. The number of Florida jobs rose 54,900 compared to a year ago.
December was the 29th consecutive month with positive job growth after the state lost jobs for three years. The industry gaining the most jobs was leisure and hospitality (+29,900 jobs, +3.1 percent). Other industries gaining jobs included trade, transportation, and utilities (+22,200 jobs, +1.5 percent); professional and business services (+18,100, +1.7 percent); private education and health services (+13,200 jobs, +1.2 percent); and manufacturing (+1,500 jobs, +0.5 percent).
Industries losing jobs over the year included government (-10,600 jobs, -1.0 percent), construction (-6,800 jobs, -2.1 percent), other services (-4,600 jobs, -1.5 percent), information (-4,000 jobs, -3.0 percent) and financial (-4,000 jobs, -0.8 percent).
Losses in those industries were partially due to declines in local government jobs, heavy and civil engineering construction, automotive repair and maintenance, telecommunications and insurance carriers and related activities.
In December 2012, Monroe County had the state's lowest unemployment rate, at 4.5 percent. Many of the counties with the lowest unemployment reported relatively high proportions of government employment. Flagler County had the highest unemployment rate — 11.2 percent — in Florida in December 2012.
Twelve of the state's 22 metro areas had over-the-year job gains in December 2012. The areas with the largest gains were Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater (+21,000 jobs, +1.8 percent), Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (+18,900 jobs, +1.8 percent). The largest metro losses were in Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall (-3,700 jobs, -0.4 percent).
Nationally, the number of jobs was up 1.4 percent over the year.
The unemployment rate is derived from Florida household surveys conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, under contract with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The job growth rate is derived from Florida employer surveys conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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