Unemployment rate holds steady in Florida



Florida’s jobless mark continued its steady run through 2014, holding at 6.2 percent from June to July, the state Department of Economic Opportunity announced Friday.

The numbers indicate there were about 1,600 fewer people employed in July in Florida than a month earlier.

And unlike a national report where the workforce grew by about 329,000 month to month, a .2 percent increase, the Sunshine State recorded a 16,000 decrease in the overall civilian labor force between June and July, a .2 percent drop.

In highlighting the positives of the latest employment numbers, the state agency pointed to “long-term positive trends” based on the economic climate over the past three years and Florida’s “pro-growth business” policies.

Gov. Rick Scott, fighting for re-election with a campaign message dependent heavily on his economic and jobs record, focused Friday on private-sector job growth.

“Florida’s private sector created more than 2,000 jobs for Florida families in July, bringing total private-sector job creation since December 2010 to 620,300,” Scott said in a prepared statement. “Every new job positively impacts a family, and today’s announcement is more great news for Florida families looking to live the American Dream in the Sunshine State.”

The focus of Scott’s comment drew a rebuke from the Florida Democratic Party.

Democratic Party spokesman Max Steele tweeted, Gov. Scott’s “email touts FL gaining 2.1k jobs in July. Only problem? FL lost ~3.7k in the same month, for net of -1.6k.”

The state’s unemployment rate, which stood at 7.3 percent a year ago, has been mostly flat this year, wavering between 6.2 percent and 6.3 percent.

The same goes for the national mark which went up from 6.1 percent to 6.2 percent from June to July, with the data indicating more workers were resuming employment or at least searching for jobs.

Besides state government jobs, the biggest June to July gains in Florida were found in the fields of construction, real estate, and entertainment and recreation.

In the same time, manufacturing, professional management and wholesale trade showed the largest percentage drops in jobs.

Across Florida, the lowest unemployment rates continue to come in parts of the Panhandle and Monroe County, which includes the Keys.

Walton and Monroe counties stood at 3.9 percent unemployment, up from the 3.4 percent recorded in June for Walton County and the 3.5 percent reported in June for Monroe County.

The next lowest county figures were for Okaloosa, 4.9 percent, Wakulla, 5.2 percent and St. Johns, 5.5 percent.

Southwest Florida’s Hendry County maintained the state’s highest unemployment rate, growing from 10.6 percent in June to 12.5 percent in July. The next highest were Flagler and Hamilton counties, both at 9.3 percent, and Glades County, at 9.0 percent.