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Jacksonville Unemployment Rate Close to Pre-Pandemic Levels

Now hiring sign.

The Jacksonville area’s unemployment rate is one percentage point off pre-pandemic levels.

The city’s May unemployment rate sank to 4.2%, according to numbers out Friday from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. The unemployment rate was 3.2% in February 2020, just before the pandemic caused economic shutdowns. 

Jacksonville’s rate today is lower than Florida's rate of 4.9% and the national rate of 5.8%. 

The Jacksonville area has the sixth-lowest unemployment rate out of Florida’s 24 Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Metropolitan Divisions. 

One year ago, amid capacity restrictions at many businesses due to the pandemic and the complete shutdown of bars in Florida, 11% of Jacksonville’s workforce was without a job. Since then, 106,294 more people have been employed, contributing to a net workforce expansion of 57,079 people.

After restrictions were lifted, the local industries that gained the most jobs over the year were leisure and hospitality, which increased by 13,600 jobs, and trade, transportation, and utilities, which grew by 11,500 jobs.

Tristan Wood can be reached at or on Twitter at @TristanDWood.

Tristan is WJCT’s 2021 Summer Reporting Intern. He has previously worked as the City and County Commission reporter for the Independent Florida Alligator, Gainesville’s student-run newspaper, and Fresh Take Florida, a news service working in partnership with the Associated Press to cover the Florida Legislature and select political news stories across the state.