Jacksonville Keeps Adding Jobs; St. Johns Ties For State's Lowest Unemployment

Sep 21, 2018

New unemployment figures out Friday show Jacksonville’s unemployment rate is continuing to improve.

Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity reports Jacksonville’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.5 percent in August, down from 3.8 percent in July.

The figures were not seasonally adjusted, meaning statisticians did not account for seasonal fluctuations in employment, such as spikes in temporary jobs during the holidays or summer breaks. 

Last year at this time Jacksonville was experiencing a 4.2 percent unemployment rate.

Using statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor and other sources, the report found 27,594 people were looking for work in August in the Jacksonville metropolitan area, while 755,997 were employed.

Using the same numbers, Gov. Rick Scott's office said Friday morning that nearly 21,000 new private-sector jobs have been created in Jacksonville over the past year. That represents the fourth-highest number of jobs added among all Florida metro areas.

The industries with the highest growth over the year in Jacksonville were leisure and hospitality with 5,800 new jobs and professional and business services with 4,600 jobs, according to Scott’s office.

St. Johns and Okaloosa counties were tied for the state’s lowest unemployment rate at 2.9 percent.

Statewide, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held steady at 3.7 percent in August, unchanged from July but down 0.3 percent from a year ago. The state average is lower than the U.S. unemployment rate, 3.9 percent in August.

There were 375,000 jobless Floridians out of a labor force of 10,244,000. And Florida has gained 220,200 jobs over a 12 month period, according to the report, which is an increase of 2.6 percent to 8,822,200 jobs.

Nationally the number of jobs rose by 1.6 for the same time period.

Construction jobs saw the biggest gain in Florida at 7.7 percent, followed by education and health services at 2.3 percent.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.