Florida jobless rate stays at 2.6 percent

As construction jobs showed an uptick for the first time in 2023, Florida’s near-historic low unemployment rate remained unchanged in June.The Florida Department of Commerce on Friday announced the jobless rate remained at 2.6 percent, unchanged since it was 2.7 percent in December.

The June rate represented an estimated 280,000 Floridians qualified as unemployed, up 3,000 from May, from a labor force that grew by 41,000 to 10.998 million.

The rate remained below the national rate of 3.6 percent

Lindsay Volpe, deputy secretary of the department’s Division of Workforce Services, said Florida’s rate likely will see little change in the near future. It is slightly above the all-time low of 2.4 percent, last seen in June 2006.

“This stability is thanks, in part, to Florida’s growing labor force,” Volpe said during a conference call with reporters. “Floridians are confident entering the workforce to find meaningful employment.”

Employment in the construction sector showed an estimated 4,000 new jobs in June, reversing a five-month decline.

The construction slowdown had been attributed to rising mortgage rates affecting demand for new housing, mostly in South Florida. Volpe wouldn’t call the June increase “a trend.”

“Nearly half of the job gains in construction this month, about 47 percent, came from building equipment contractors, which includes plumbing, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and electrical contracted services,” Volpe said. “While one month is too soon to see a trend, we are seeing promising increases and new construction permitting.”

At the same time, leisure and hospitality jobs–the second biggest growth sector over the past year–dropped by 3,000 jobs in June.

Professional and business services, a sector that over the past year added 45,500 positions, had the best June, picking up 4,800 new jobs.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported last week that inflation was slowing, with overall consumer prices in June up 3 percent from a year ago. But increases in markets such as Tampa and Miami were higher.

Across Florida, the metropolitan-statistical area with the lowest unemployment rate in June was the Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin area at 2.6 percent.

The Panama City and Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach regions were each at 2.7 percent. The Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent and Jacksonville areas were each at 3 percent.

The Southwest Florida area of Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island was at 3.1 percent.

The highest unemployment rates were in the Sebring area at 4.6 percent; the Homosassa Springs area at 4.4 percent; and The Villages area at 4.1 percent.

The statewide unemployment rate is seasonally adjusted, while regional rates are not adjusted.

Jim Turner – News Service of Florida


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