Florida's jobless rate steady in October as its labor force increases

BY SourceMedia | ECONOMIC | 11/20/23 12:39 PM EST By Chip Barnett

Florida's labor force grew by 0.2-percentage points in October while the state's private-sector employment increased 0.3% and the unemployment rate remained steady, FloridaCommerce reported.

"Florida's unemployment rate remains at a low 2.8% and we continue to see job growth month after month, bucking national trends," Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis posted Friday on X, formerly Twitter. "Florida is driving economic success through smart investments and we will continue to lead the nation in economic strength."

Florida outpaced the national average in overall labor force gains, with the 0.2-percentage point increase in October being the 29th straight month of growth, data show. The national labor force growth rate fell by 0.1-percentage point during the same period.

Florida's unemployment of 2.8% was more than a percentage point lower than the national rate of 3.9% in October, the 36th month in a row the state's jobless rate was below the nation's. The state's private-sector employment increased 0.3%, or by 25,900 jobs, last month.

The Sunshine State's labor market continues to be a standout, Wells Fargo (WFC) said in a Friday report.

Florida was second in the nation in net payroll additions, following California, which saw 40,200 jobs added.

"Florida added 28,400 net payrolls in October, up from its third quarter average of 22,800. Job growth was widespread across industries," Wells Fargo (WFC) said. "The still-strong consumer sector and growing healthcare workforce posted notable additions as trade, transportation and utilities and healthcare and social assistance drove October's upturn."

The Miami metropolitan statistical area gained more private-sector job gains over the year than any other area of the state.

The Miami area added 38,600 private-sector jobs, a 3.4% year-over-year increase. The Miami area unemployment rate fell to 1.6% in October from 2.4% in October 2022.

The Miami metro area also led the state in year-over-year job gains in five industry sectors ? trade, transportation and utilities; professional and business services; manufacturing; government; and other services.

The Tampa area saw the second most private-sector job gains year-over-year in October and led all metro areas in over-the-year job gains in education and health services.

The Tampa area's labor force grew by 67,557, a 4.0% increase from October 2022. The Tampa area unemployment rate was 3.2%, up 0.6-percentage point from the year ago rate of 2.6%.

Last month, the Tampa area added 35,900 private-sector jobs, a 2.7% increase year-over-year. The industries gaining the most jobs over the year were education and health services and professional and business services.

The Jacksonville area experienced the largest private-sector year-over-year job growth by percentage, adding 28,600 private-sector jobs, a 4.0% increase. The Jacksonville area labor force increased 5.5% year-over-year while the area's unemployment rate rose 0.5- percentage point to 3.1% from 2.6% in October 2022.

The industries gaining the most jobs over the year were education and health services; trade, transportation and utilities; and professional and business services.

The Orlando area's labor force increased 3.5%, with private-sector jobs increasing 2.1%. The Orlando area unemployment rate rose to 3.1%, up 0.4-percentage point from 2.7% in October 2022. In October, the Orlando metro area led in year-over-year job gains in leisure and hospitality.

In other Florida news last week, DeSantis signed several bills passed by the Legislature during its special session. These included providing additional Hurricane Idalia relief, more security at Jewish day schools and further sanctions on Iran.

The state will provide $176.2 million to the My Safe Florida Home program to cover the 17,600 claims submitted from those in areas affected by Idalia.

A new law supports Israel through expansion of state sanctions against Iran, which DeSantis has said is a key supporter of Hamas, the terror group that attacked Israel on Oct. 7. Additionally, the Legislature passed resolutions to show support for Israel.

A separate bill will broaden the law requiring the State Board of Administration to divest from companies with links to Iran's oil industry. The expansion includes industries and business in the financial, construction, manufacturing and textile sectors.

New laws also provide $25 million for added security at Jewish day schools and preschools and $20 million for the Division of Emergency Management to set up a nonprofit security grant program for groups seen at a greater risk of hate crimes, violent attacks and anti-Semitism.

"I applaud the Legislature for their fast work during this special session," DeSantis said. "Divesting from any company that supports Iran and ensuring that students are able to attend Jewish day schools safely is of utmost importance."

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