Statewide Unemployment Drops, Brevard County’s Rises
By Jim Turner, The News Service of Florida // July 19, 2014
BREVARD UNEMPLOYMENT UP TO 6.7 PERCENT
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Though Florida slipped behind the national unemployment rate for the first time in more than a year, Gov. Rick Scott on Friday promoted that the state had its “greatest month” of private-sector job creation since he took office.
For Scott, whose re-election effort relies heavily on economic improvements since he took office in 2011, the good news is that Florida’sjobless mark fell from 6.3 percent in May to 6.2 percent in June.
“This news is great for Florida families, and Florida continues to have great success in our state’s economic recovery,” Scott said in a prepared statement. “Let’s keep working so that every person who wants a job can get one here in Florida.”
In the same month-to-month comparison, the national unemployment mark dipped from 6.3 percent to 6.1 percent.
Despite the state’s overall unemployment drop, Brevard County’s unemployment raised from 6.6 percent to 6.7 percent. In the month of June, 17,725 were unemployed in Brevard County, which is 178 residents higher than the month of May.
Florida’s growth was spurred by about 39,900 new private-sector jobs. There are now an estimated 597,000 jobless Floridians out of a labor force of 9.6 million, according to numbers released Friday by the state Department of Economic Opportunity.
Over the past year, many of the gains have been in service-related fields, such as food and beverage stores, specialty trade contractors, ambulatory health care services, insurance carriers and telecommunications.
“This economic growth is not happening by chance,” Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Jesse Panuccio said. “Policy matters, and this administration will keep working to promote the pro-growth policies that are making Florida the best state in the nation in which to live, work, and start or grow a business.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, Florida’s month-over-month increase of 37,400 total private and public jobs was the most in the nation, followed by 24,200 in California and 22,500 in New York.
The state’s unemployment rate, which topped 7 percent a year ago, has been mostly flat this year, wavering between 6.2 percent and 6.3 percent.
Scott’s campaign has made the economy and private-sector job creation a focal point of commercials that compare the current economic numbers with those during the term of former Gov. Charlie Crist.
Crist, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination to oppose Scott in November, was in office as Florida struggled through the national economic recession. Scott appeared Friday at a private business, Shaw Development in Bonita Springs, to announce the June numbers.
Northwest Florida, which relies heavily on government employment, and Monroe County, which includes the Keys, maintained the lowestunemployment rates in the state.
Walton County had the lowest unemployment rate, holding for the second month at 3.4 percent. Monroe County went from 3.6 percent to 3.5 percent, followed by Okaloosa County at 4.6 percent, Sumter County at 4.8 percent, and Wakulla County at 4.9 percent.
On the other end of the spectrum, Southwest Florida’s Hendry County had the highest unemployment rate in June, at 10.6 percent, jumping from 9.4 percent in May. It was followed by Flagler County, at 8.8 percent; and Hamilton County, at 8.6 percent.
Since December 2010, Florida’s unemployment rate has dropped 4.9 percentage points, from the high rate of 11.1 percent down now to 6.2 percent in June 2014. Florida’s unemployment rate has declined or held steady over the month for 44 of the last 46 months.
More Floridians Getting Back to Work
- Florida’s job growth rate over the year has exceeded that of the nation since April 2012.
- Florida’s private sector job growth month-to-month has been positive for 34 of the last 36 months.
- Florida has created 620,700 new private-sector jobs since December 2010.
- Florida job postings compiled by the Help Wanted OnLine data series from The Conference Board showed 263,855 openings in June 2014.
GDP (Gross Domestic Product)
- Real GDP is defined as the value of all final goods and services produced in a time period in a given economy (using constant, inflation-adjusted dollars).
- Real GDP is a standard measure of an economy’s output. For states, this number is not reported as frequently or as timely as the unemployment rate, job count, and job demand.
- Last month, the federal government released the 2013 GDP figures for the states, and Florida’s position is worth noting.
- Florida’s overall real GDP was $750.5 billion, which was the fourth highest real GDP behind California, Texas, and New York.
- In terms of real GDP growth rate, Florida grew at 2.2 percent, which among the ten largest states was the third highest rate.
- It was also above the national growth rate for 2013, which was 1.8 percent.
- In terms of trends, from 2008 through 2011, real GDP declined, including a drop of over 6 percent in 2009.
- For a second year in a row, GDP growth in Florida exceeded 2 percent, more good news for the state economy.
Home Sales Robust
- Home sales remain robust as the backlog of existing homes on the market is down by 31.3 percent from December 2011 (Florida Realtors).
- Florida median home prices were up 4.3 percent over the year in May 2014.
Economic Growth Trends Up Across State
- A recent U.S. Census Survey reported that Florida experienced an influx of people moving into the state. Florida also led the nation in migrations from Puerto Rico.
- Florida is running a trade surplus of over $18 billion – with $90.4 billion in exports and $71.8 billion in imports in 2012, up from $86.8 billion in exports in 2011 and $62.4 billion in imports in 2011.
Workforce Boards Assisting in Employment
- In June, Florida’s 24 Regional Workforce Boards reported more than 35,000 Floridians were placed in jobs. An individual who receives employment and training assistance through a CareerSource Center and finds a job within 180 days is deemed a placement and may be reported by a regional workforce board. Of these individuals, 7,239 previously received Reemployment Assistance.
- In 2013, more than 479,000 Floridians were placed in jobs, with 135,384 former claimants finding employment.