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County's jobless rate rises in June


Published:   |   Updated: March 11, 2013 at 07:39 PM
SEBRING -

Just when it looked like Highlands County unemployment might dip below 8 percent, it zoomed back up in June to 8.9 percent.

"Traditionally, we see a decline in jobs starting in April," said Alan Grimes, a planning and operations analyst for Heartland Workforce in Sebring. "Over the past four years, every time you look at April, May, June, there is this seasonal letting go of people."

This year, it happened in June, with the county unemployment rate rising from 8.1 percent. The cause: 342 people added to the jobless column, even though 328 left the labor force. That's 670 people who didn't have jobs.

The state's overall unemployment rate is adjusted to account for seasonal factors. That adjusted rate was 8.6 percent in June, 2.1 percentage points lower than the year-ago rate of 10.7 percent. The U.S. unemployment rate was 8.2 percent in June.

Florida industries gaining jobs included trade, transportation, and utilities (up 24,200 jobs, or 1.6 percent); private education and health services (up 19,300 jobs, or 1.8 percent); leisure and hospitality (up 19,200 jobs, or 2.0 percent); financial activities (up 10,900 jobs, or 2.3 percent); and manufacturing (up 3,000 jobs, or 1 percent).

Losers over the year included construction (down 24,600 jobs, or 7.4 percent), total government (down 10,100 jobs, or 0.9 percent), other services (down 4,600 jobs, or 1.5 percent), and information (down 100 jobs, or 0.1 percent).

Monthly unemployment and job growth rates are estimates based on Florida household surveys by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. The job growth rate is derived from employer surveys.

After the state lost jobs for three years, June was the 23rd consecutive month with positive year-over-year job growth. The industry gaining the most jobs was professional and business services (up 33,700 jobs, or 3.2 percent).

Monroe County (5.0 percent) had the state's lowest unemployment rate, followed by Walton (5.4 percent), Okaloosa (6.1 percent), and Franklin (6.2 percent). Many of the counties with the lowest unemployment rates were those with relatively high proportions of government employment.

Hendry County had the highest unemployment rate (14.2 percent) in Florida in June 2012, followed by Flagler (12.3 percent), St. Lucie (11.8 percent), and Indian River (11.3 percent).

Seasonal declines in agriculture and related industries contributed to the high unemployment rate in Hendry County. Fifteen Florida counties reported double-digit unemployment rates in June, up from eight in May. County and metropolitan-area unemployment figures are not seasonally adjusted.

Eleven of the 22 metro areas showed year-over-year job gains. The largest were Tampa-St. Petersburg (up 23,300 jobs, or 2.1 percent), Miami (up 10,800 jobs, or 1.1 percent), and Orlando (up 9,800 jobs, or 1.0 percent).

The largest losses were in Pensacola (down 3,500 jobs, or 2.2 percent), Tallahassee (down 2,800 jobs, or 1.7 percent), Gainesville (down 2,000 jobs, or 1.6 percent), and Port St. Lucie (down 2,000 jobs, or 1.7 percent).


gpinnell@highlandstoday.com
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