TALLAHASSEE – Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in October 2010 is 11.9 percent, unchanged from September 2010.  This represents 1,096,000 jobless out of a labor force of 9,233,000.  

Florida’s total nonagricultural employment in October 2010 is 7,215,500, representing an increase of 6,900 jobs (0.1 percent) over the month.  Florida’s annual job growth rate is up 0.5 percent, representing an increase of 35,700 jobs from October 2009.  This is the strongest over-the-year job growth in the state since May 2007.  Nationally, the number of jobs is up 0.6 percent over the year.

“While Florida’s unemployment rate did not decrease this month, we continue to see positive signs of stabilization and growth,” said AWI Director Cynthia R. Lorenzo.  “In addition to showing improved over-the-year job creation, Florida posted the largest decrease in the country last week in the number of people who filed for first-time unemployment benefits. Combined with increasing numbers of job postings online, this is encouraging news for our job seekers and our economy.”

Florida job postings compiled by the Help Wanted OnLine data series from The Conference Board totaled 235,464 (seasonally adjusted) in October 2010, representing a fifth consecutive month of gains and an over-the-year increase of 72,377 job postings in Florida since October of last year.   
 
The October 2010 job postings represent the highest level of demand since July 2008, when Help Wanted OnLine showed 235,479 openings.  

The Florida Consumer Confidence Index is also showing gains, with a six-point increase from 68 in September to 74 in October based on an index of 100, as reported by the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research.  Perceptions as to whether it is a good time to buy big-ticket consumer items had the biggest increase of 10 points to 85.

Earlier this month, AWI announced a new online system that helps employers take advantage of the federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC.)  This valuable tax break is available to employers who hire job seekers from several target groups, including veterans, people receiving public assistance and others.  For more information, please visit floridajobs.org/wotc.

In recognition of the more than 1.6 million veterans who call Florida home and the significant value Florida’s veterans bring to the state’s workforce, Governor Charlie Crist has proclaimed November 2010 Hire a Veteran Month in Florida.  Veterans are encouraged to visit the Florida workforce system’s dedicated web portal that matches skills gained in the military with current job openings at veterans.employflorida.com

 * The number of jobs in Florida is 7,215,500 in October 2010, up 35,700 jobs compared to a year ago.  This is the fourth annual increase in jobs since the state started losing jobs in July 2007.  The industry gaining the most jobs is private education and health services (+29,800 jobs, +2.8 percent).  

*Other industries gaining jobs include:  leisure and hospitality (+25,500 jobs, +2.8 percent); trade, transportation, and utilities (+14,100, +1.0 percent); other services (+11,300 jobs, +3.7 percent); and professional and business services (+5,000 jobs, +0.5 percent).  

*These industry job gains are partially due to increases in ambulatory health care services; accommodation; general merchandise stores; membership associations and organizations; and computer systems design.  

*The industries losing jobs over the year include:  construction (-13,800 jobs, -3.8 percent), financial activities (-11,400 jobs, -2.4 percent), information (-8,900 jobs, -6.3 percent), manufacturing (-8,400 jobs, -2.7 percent), and total government (-7,500 jobs, -0.7 percent).  

*These industry job losses are partially due to weakness in specialty trade contractors, real estate, telecommunications, fabricated metal product manufacturing, and local government.  

* In October 2010, Liberty County has the state’s lowest unemployment rate (6.9 percent), followed by Leon County (7.7 percent); Alachua and Okaloosa counties (7.8 percent each); Monroe, Wakulla, and Walton counties (8.0 percent each); and Jackson County (8.1 percent).  Most of the counties with the lowest unemployment rates are those with relatively high proportions of government employment.  

*Hendry County (18.3 percent) has the highest unemployment rate in Florida in October 2010, followed by Flagler County (15.5 percent), St. Lucie County (14.7 percent), Hernando County (14.3 percent), and Indian River County (14.2 percent).  Many of the counties with the highest unemployment rates are those with relatively high proportions of agricultural employment.  Others have continued weakness in construction.  There are 48 Florida counties with double-digit unemployment rates in October, down from 51 the previous month.  
 

* Fourteen metro areas in the state have over-the-year job gains:  Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (+10,500 jobs, +1.1 percent), West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Boynton Beach (+5,400 jobs, +1.1 percent), Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall (+1,900 jobs, +0.2 percent), North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota (+1,000 jobs, +0.4 percent), Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent (+900 jobs, +0.6 percent), Panama City-Lynn Haven-Panama City Beach (+800 jobs, +1.1 percent), Tallahassee (+800 jobs, +0.5 percent), Gainesville (+800 jobs, +0.6 percent), Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach (+700 jobs, +0.5 percent), Naples-Marco Island (+700 jobs, +0.7 percent), Jacksonville (+300 jobs, +0.1 percent), Sebastian-Vero Beach (+200 jobs, +0.5 percent), Crestview-Ft. Walton Beach-Destin (+100 jobs, +0.1 percent), and Punta Gorda (+100 jobs, +0.3 percent).  

* Of the metro areas with job losses, Ft. Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach (-3,500 jobs,  -0.5 percent) is losing the most, followed by Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville (-2,000 jobs, -1.0 percent), Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater (-1,700 jobs, -0.2 percent), Ocala (-900 jobs, -1.0 percent), Cape Coral-Ft. Myers (-800 jobs, -0.4 percent), Palm Coast (-500 jobs, -2.8 percent), and Lakeland-Winter Haven (-400 jobs, -0.2 percent). 

Source:  Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation, Labor Market Statistics Center, Local Area Unemployment Statistics Program, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics