Duval County’s unemployment rate fell to 8.35 percent in October from 9.01 percent in September and 10.29 percent in October 2011, according to state numbers adjusted for seasonal factors by University of North Florida economics professor Paul Mason.
The labor force comprises people who are working or looking for work.
Mason said the county’s labor force declined by 2,645 people over the month. The number of workers employed fell by 148 and the number of unemployed people fell by 2,497.
Mason said that suggests an exodus from the workforce in September, but mostly by those who did not have jobs previously. That means people who were looking for jobs might have stopped looking.
“This likely suggests a jump in discouraged workers or workers exiting from the Jacksonville labor market,” Mason said.
Meanwhile, the adjusted unemployment rate for the five-county metropolitan area fell to 7.93 percent in October from 8.15 percent in September, he said.
The labor force in Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties fell by 4,029 people over the month. The number of employed workers dropped by 232, while the number of unemployed people fell by 3,797.
Mason said those numbers also suggest a September exodus from the workforce of people who did not have jobs and indicates there could be more discouraged workers throughout the area.
Duval County’s unadjusted unemployment rate of 8.2 percent ranked No. 35, from highest to lowest, of the state’s 67 counties, led by Hendry County at 12.6 percent.
Among the other Northeast Florida counties, Flagler County was No. 2 at 11.3 percent; Putnam was No. 4 at 10.3 percent; Nassau was No. 45 at 7.4 percent; Clay was No. 50 at 7.1 percent; Baker was No. 52 at 6.7 percent; and St. Johns was No. 58 at 6.4 percent.
Monroe County has the lowest rate in the state at 4.7 percent.
By metropolitan area, the five-county Jacksonville metropolitan statistical area was No. 19, at 7.7 percent, of the state’s 23 metro areas.
Palm Coast was No. 1 at 11.3 percent and Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin was No. 23 at 5.7 percent.