TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- Florida’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 6.2% in December 2013, down 0.2 percentage point over the month, and down 1.7 percentage points from 7.9% a year ago.
Statewide, the drop in the unemployment rate was due to 9,000 less Floridians in the workforce combined with 152,000 more jobs in Florida from a year ago (seasonally-adjusted). Florida’s annual job growth rate in December 2013 was the fastest since June 2006. Nationally, the number of jobs was up 1.6 percent over the year. Florida’s annual job growth rate has exceeded or been equal to the nation’s rate since March 2012.
December 2013 was the 41st consecutive month with positive annual job growth after the state lost jobs for over three years. The industry gaining the most jobs was trade, transportation, and utilities (+60,300 jobs, +3.9 percent).
All unemployment rate numbers released are known as U-3, which consists of total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force.
Florida Counties With Lowest Unemployment
In December 2013, Monroe County had the state’s lowest unemployment rate (3.5 percent), followed by Walton County (4.0 percent); Okaloosa County (4.4 percent); and Alachua and St. Johns counties (4.7 percent each). Many of the counties with the lowest unemployment rates were those with relatively high proportions of government employment.
Florida Counties With Highest Unemployment
Hendry County had the highest unemployment rate (10.2 percent) in Florida in December 2013, followed by Flagler County (8.8 percent), Hamilton County (8.4 percent), Madison County (8.2 percent), and Putnam County (8.1 percent). Hendry County had the highest unemployment rate in the state in December, mainly due to long-term job losses in government employment. Hendry was the only county in Florida with double-digit unemployment since September.
Brevard County Unemployment Rate
The unemployment rate (not seasonally-adjusted) on Florida's Space Coast dropped to 6.5% in December 2013 from 8.3% in December 2012, but is still higher than that of the Florida statewide unemployment rate of 5.9% (not seasonally-adjusted).
The drop in Brevard County's unemployment rate was due to 2,383 less people in the workforce combined with the addition of 2,626 more jobs from a year ago. Out of a labor force of 264,799, there were 17,107 unemployed Brevard County residents.
In December 2013, total nonagricultural employment in the Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville metro area was 200,700. Total nonagricultural employment increased by 1.3 percent over the year. Statewide employment increased by 2.6 percent over the same time period.
Total nonagricultural employment increased by 2,600 jobs over the year in the Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville metro area. Job gains were led by trade, transportation, and utilities (+1,100 jobs). Other industries that gained jobs over the year included mining, logging, and construction (+900 jobs); education and health services (+600 jobs); and manufacturing, financial activities, other services, and government (+200 jobs each). Industries reporting job losses included professional and business services (-600 jobs) and leisure and hospitality (-200 jobs). Information remained unchanged over the year.
The annual job growth rates for mining, logging, and construction (+10.5 percent); financial activities (+2.6 percent); other services (+2.5 percent); and education and health services (+1.8 percent) exceeded the state rates. The Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro areas had the largest annual growth rates in mining, logging, and construction employment of all of the metro areas in Florida (+10.5 percent each).