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First Coast

Unemployment falls across Northeast Florida

Michael Conroy

Unemployment continued to fall in Northeast Florida in March, part of a trend across the state despite employers struggling to retain workers.

Unemployment in Duval County fell to 2.7% from 3.1% in February, according to figures released Friday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

Elsewhere in the area:

  • Baker County — 2.4%, down from 2.7%.
  • Clay County — 2.3%, down from 2.6%.
  • Nassau County — 2.2%, down from 2.5%.
  • Putnam County — 3.8%, down from 4.4%.
  • St. Johns County — 2.0%, down from 2.3%.

Statewide, unemployment dipped to 3.2 percent as workers shifted away from jobs at hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues for higher-paying jobs in manufacturing, warehousing and logistics, the News Service of Florida reported. Unemployment stood at 3.3% in February.
The state unemployment rate is seasonally adjusted, while the county and metropolitan rates are not.

“The combination of (a) falling unemployment rate and a growing labor force is a very good sign for Florida's economy,” Adrienne Johnston, chief economist for the DEO, said in a conference call with reporters. “This means that more and more Floridians continue to enter the job market, and they're able to find work on a consistent basis.”

Duval County registered 5.0% unemployment a year ago. The number of employed residents has grown by 31,340 in that time.

St. Johns County had the second-lowest unemployment rate in Florida last month, behind only Monroe County at 1.7%.