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Jax Daily Record Friday, May 20, 202210:45 AM EST

Another record low for Northeast Florida unemployment

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The rate fell to 2.2% while the average hourly wage in the Jacksonville area rose to $33.22 in April.
by: Mark Basch Contributing Writer

Jacksonville’s unemployment rate fell to another record low in April with businesses in just about every industry adding to their payrolls.

The unemployment rate in the Jacksonville metropolitan area of Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties dropped from 2.5% in March to 2.2% in April, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity reported May 20. 

That’s the lowest rate ever in the agency’s records, which go back to 1990.

The agency’s survey of business payrolls in the Jacksonville area show Northeast Florida nonfarm employers added 39,600 jobs from April 2021 through April 2022, a 5.5% growth rate.

With unemployment so low, businesses are paying higher wages to attract workers to fill openings. The average hourly wage in the Jacksonville area rose to $33.22 in April, up from $32.96 in March and up 9.24% from an average of $30.41 for all of 2021.

The average was $29.46 in February 2020, before the impact of the coronavirus pandemic hit the labor market.

Duval County’s unemployment rate fell by 0.3 percentage points to 2.4% in April, but two counties in the metro area fell below 2%.

St. Johns County’s rate of 1.7% was second lowest in the state behind Monroe County’s 1.5% and Nassau County tied for the third lowest at 1.9%.

Clay County was at 2% and Baker County was 2.1%.

Meanwhile, one county near Jacksonville but not part of the metro area, Putnam, had the highest jobless rate in the state at 3.6%.

Florida’s statewide unemployment fell by 0.2 points to a seasonally adjusted 3%, the Department of Economic Opportunity said. But when the data is not adjusted for seasonal factors, the statewide rate was at 2.4%.

The agency does not adjust provide seasonally adjusted data for local areas in its monthly reports.

The biggest job gains in the Jacksonville area over the past year came in the professional and business services sector, which added 14,000 jobs from April 2021 through April 2022, a 12.3% growth rate.

The leisure and hospitality sector was next with a gain of 9,500 jobs, or 12.1%.

That sector was hit hard by pandemic-related shutdowns two years ago but the number of leisure and hospitality jobs reached 87,900 in April, higher than the pre-pandemic level of 86,100 in February 2020.

Florida’s statewide job growth rate was 5.9% in the 12 months through April.

 

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