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Florida's unemployment rate drops despite job losses

6:11 PM, Sep 20, 2013   |    comments
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida lost nearly 5,000 jobs in August but the unemployment rate still dropped one-tenth of a point to 7.0 percent.

Tampa and Jacksonville posted a big drop in the jobless rate. Both dropped three-tenths of a point, putting Tampa at 7.0 percent and Jacksonville at 6.7 percent.

Industries gaining the most jobs include tourism-related businesses, construction, and trade, transportation and utilities.

Government and manufacturing lost jobs compared to a year ago.

Florida's 7 percent jobless rate is down from 8.6 percent in August, 2012.

The unemployment rate dropped even though the state lost jobs partly because the workforce shrunk by about 13,000 people in August.

"People may leave the labor force for a variety of reason that can include retirement, education, caring for loved ones, as well as less people entering the workforce. And what's important there is the long-term trend and we did see an increase in the labor force over the year in August," said Jessica Sims of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

Sims says Florida's jobless rate has posted over-the-year job gains for 37 straight months.

"What's most important when we talk about labor market statistics is to look at the long term trends, not necessarily the month-to-month changes. So over the years and over the last year and over the last two-and-a-half years we have had an annual positive job growth rate."

Florida's 7 percent unemployment rate is three-tenths of a point lower than the national rate.

Dave Heller

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