January Jobless Rate at 3.1 Percent

January Jobless Rate at 3.1 Percent

By Jim Turner, The News Service of Florida

TALLAHASSEE — Florida’s unemployment rate stood at 3.1 percent in January, unchanged from a revised December rate, as the workforce continues to steadily grow.

The Florida Department of Commerce on Monday estimated 340,000 Floridians were out of work in January, 1,000 more than in December and an increase of 37,000 from a year earlier.

Meanwhile, a labor force of 11.077 million in January was up by 16,000 from December and 243,000 from a year earlier. The unemployment rate in January 2023 was 2.8 percent.

Jimmy Heckman, the Department of Commerce’s chief of workforce statistics and economic research, told reporters Monday that demand for labor is keeping the unemployment rate low, with more than one job opening per unemployed person.

“Population growth leads to both a growing labor force and to growing demand for goods and services. That just creates a lot of opportunities throughout the state,” Heckman said. “Every major sector in Florida added jobs over the month in January. Nine out of 10 of those sectors, especially the leisure and hospitality and retail-trade sectors, have added jobs over the past year.”

The Department of Commerce in January announced a December unemployment rate of 3 percent. The December rate was revised in Monday’s report to 3.1 percent.

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office issued a news release Monday that said the new data indicates “economic stability and confidence among Florida’s workforce.”

“Florida has started off the year strong by growing jobs at twice the national average,” DeSantis said in a prepared statement.

Over the past year, the state’s labor force has grown by 2.2 percent compared to 0.8 percent nationally. The national unemployment rate in January was 3.7 percent, unchanged from December and up from 3.4 percent a year earlier.

The governor’s office also contended that a 2023 law targeting illegal immigration is working, as jobs involving accommodations and food services were up by 5,400 in January from December.

The law, in part, requires all businesses with 25 or more employees to use the federal E-Verify system to check the immigration status of workers. The law also cracked down on people who bring undocumented immigrants into Florida.

Heckman noted that while jobs in the hospitality and retail sectors exceeded the national growth rates, every major employment sector in Florida added jobs in January.

As examples, employment in a “health care and social assistance” category increased by 10,300 positions in January. Retail trade employment increased by 5,000. Construction employment was up by 2,300. Manufacturing was up by 1,400.

Also, while employment in state government fell by 1,300 positions in January, government employment overall grew by 900 as federal positions increased by 1,500 and local government positions increased by 700.

The state’s metropolitan statistical area with the lowest unemployment rate in January was the region including Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, at 2.4 percent. Within the area, the Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall region was at 1.4 percent and Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach region was at 3.1 percent.

Among other parts of the state, the Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island area was at 3 percent; the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford area was at 3.2 percent; the Jacksonville, Tallahassee and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater areas were at 3.3 percent; and the Pensacola and Gainesville areas were at 3.4 percent.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Homosassa Springs area was at 5.2 percent, The Villages area was at 5 percent, the Sebring area was at 4.7 percent, the Ocala area was at 4.2 percent and the Lakeland-Winter Haven area was at 4 percent.

The metro area rates are not seasonally adjusted. The statewide rate is seasonally adjusted to try to measure and remove influences of predictable seasonal patterns.

The Department of Commerce will release a February unemployment report on March 22.

2 Responses to "January Jobless Rate at 3.1 Percent"

  1. 90% of the Businesses I drive past have “Now Hiring” signs in front. No one should be out of a Job.

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