Brevard Unemployment Rate Drops To 6.4 Percent

By  //  October 17, 2014

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Gubernatorial Candidates Debate Economic Numbers


TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Brevard County’s unemployment rate fell from 7.1 percent in the month of August, 2014 to 6.4 percent in September, 2014. 

According to the latest report from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity statewide unemployment dropped to 6.1 percent.

Gov. Rick Scott, who has made job creation the hallmark of his time in office, received upbeat employment news Friday.

The state announced that the final jobless numbers before the Nov. 4 general election could be the lowest for Florida since June 2008, when Charlie Crist, Scott‘s Democratic challenger, occupied the Governor’s Mansion.

The Department of Economic Opportunity posted an unemployment mark for September at 6.1 percent, down from 6.3 percent in August.

Gov. Scott discussing Florida's economy during a visit to Dixie Crossroads.
Gov. Scott discussing Florida’s economy during a visit to Dixie Crossroads.

That is the second time this year the monthly mark — based upon estimates of the number of people employed and actively seeking employment — has been announced at 6.1 percent.

Initially, the state reported the January rate at 6.1 percent, but that number was revised a short time later upward to 6.2 percent.

The state’s jobless mark has fluctuated between 6.2 percent and 6.3 percent for most of the year.

Florida’s two-point drop from August to September mirrors the federal dip in unemployment, with the national jobless mark currently at 5.9 percent.

Still, the latest numbers could help Scott, who has argued during the campaign that his policies have lowered unemployment during the recovery. At the same time, Scott has blamed Crist, who was a Republican while serving as governor, for a steep rise in unemployment during the recession.

“Charlie is the zero-wage governor: 832,000 people went from wages to zero wages when Charlie was governor,” Scott said during a debate Wednesday at Broward College in Davie.

Charlie Crist
Charlie Crist

Crist snapped back that a governor isn’t responsible for a global economic meltdown or its recovery.

“It is unbelievable that he would continue to say that, but he says it. And he also says he created all these new jobs all by himself,” Crist said during the debate.

In announcing the latest figures, Scott continued to focus strictly on private-sector job growth.

In a brief video released Friday, Scott noted, “September was a great month for job creation; 12,800 private-sector jobs added in September.”

During the past year, while construction, professional services, education and leisure and hospitality had the biggest job gains, government was the only area to lose jobs, according to the Department of Economic Opportunity.

The overall number of government jobs in Florida went down by 1,400, due to cuts at the local level. State jobs have grown by 800 in the past year, while federal jobs in Florida have increased by 200.

Across Florida, the lowest unemployment rates continued to come from the Florida Keys and parts of the Panhandle.

Monroe County held the lowest monthly jobless mark in September, down to 3.7 percent from 3.9 percent in August. Walton County in Northwest Florida went from 3.9 percent to 3.8 percent, while nearby Okaloosa County dipped from 4.9 percent to 4.6 percent.

Many of the counties with the lowest unemployment rates were those with relatively high proportions of state and federal government employees.

Southwest Florida’s Hendry County, while falling from 13.1 percent in August to 12 percent, continued to hold the state’s highest unemployment rate. Flagler and Hardee counties were next highest, both at 8.4 percent.