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First Coast

Jacksonville Area Unemployment Picture Mixed in New State Numbers

Photo of a now hiring sign
Lynne Sladky
/
Associated Press

The Jacksonville area’s unemployment rate was 4.8% last month, down from a pandemic high of over 11% last April. 

That’s according to data released Friday from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

The numbers are a mixed bag, reflecting a steady economic recovery from the coronavirus-related shutdowns last spring and summer but also showing continued suffering among certain industries and geographies.

In the greater Jacksonville region, St. Johns County was tied for the lowest unemployment rate at 3.6%, while nearby Putnam County’s unemployment rate was twice that at 7.2%. Duval County's unemployment rate was 5.3%.

The data was collected through a combination of employer and household surveys, administrative records and statistical modelling techniques, according to DEO Chief Economist Adrienne Johnston. 

“In addition to the unemployed population, there were about 64,000 individuals that were not in the labor force due to discouragement over job prospects,” Johnston said, referring to statewide numbers. “This group has more than doubled from 30,500 a year ago.” 

Jacksonville’s leisure and hospitality industry suffered the most over the last year, losing 10,400 jobs.

The economic analysis firm IHS Markit predicts sluggish growth for the U.S. economy in the coming months, with an acceleration later in the year as more Americans are vaccinated. 

Sydney Boles can be reached at sboles@wjct.org or on Twitter at @sydneyboles.