Unemployment rate drops from 4.5 percent to 3.4 percent over year.
Jacksonville missed out on getting Amazon.com’s second headquarters and the 50,000 jobs it would have brought, but Northeast Florida continues to add jobs anyway.
The unemployment rate in the Jacksonville metropolitan area – consisting of Duval, Baker, Clay, Nassau and St. Johns counties — dropped from 3.6 percent in November to 3.4 percent in December, and was down from 4.5 percent at the end of 2016, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity said Friday.
The number of jobs in the area on nonfarm business payrolls rose by 17,500 in 2017, a 2.6 percent growth rate.
The data was released a day after Amazon announced its 20 finalists, which did not include Jacksonville, for the second headquarters.
Jacksonville had been one of 238 cities to bid on the project, offering the online retailer riverfront property near the Downtown sports complex at no cost if it chose Jacksonville.
“This was an aspirational proposal we put forth,” Mayor Lenny Curry said Friday while attending the PGA Tour’s announcement of its new headquarters project in Ponte Vedra Beach.
Despite missing out on Amazon, Curry remains optimistic about Jacksonville’s growth.
“We are blocking and tackling every day on economic development,” he said.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott said after the PGA Tour announcement that Jacksonville made a strong bid for Amazon.
“They’ve really worked hard on trying to get more jobs here,” he said.
Miami is the only Florida city to make Amazon’s list of 20 finalists.
“I’m excited for Miami. I think Amazon should choose Miami,” Scott said.
The PGA Tour plans to create 300 more jobs after it builds its new headquarters, but St. Johns County’s labor market already is strong.
The county had the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 2.8 percent in December, the Department of Economic Opportunity said.
Duval County’s unemployment rate fell from 3.8 percent in November to 3.6 percent in December.
Florida’s statewide unemployment rate edged up by 0.1 percentage point to a seasonally adjusted 3.7 percent in December.
The Department of Economic Opportunity does not adjust the Jacksonville metro area and county unemployment rates for seasonal factors.