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Jax Daily Record Friday, Oct. 18, 201911:06 AM EST

Jacksonville area's unemployment rate falls to 2.9%

Job growth slowed, but the best performance was in professional and technical positions.
by: Mark Basch Contributing Writer

Jacksonville’s unemployment rate fell sharply in September despite a slowdown in job growth, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity reported Friday.

The jobless rate in the Jacksonville metropolitan area (Duval, Baker, Clay, Nassau and St. Johns counties) dropped from 3.4% in August to 2.9% in September.

The agency does not adjust the Jacksonville data for seasonal factors, which include education workers returning to work in August and September after summer break.

Even after seasonal adjustment, the jobless rate fell. The University of North Florida’s Local Economic Indicators Project said when the data is adjusted, it shows a decline from 3.48% in August to 2.98% in September.

“The decline in the unemployment rate in September exceeds what is expected based on historical seasonal patterns,” said UNF economist Albert Loh.

Duval County’s unemployment rate fell from 3.6% to 3.0% last month, according to the Department of Economic Opportunity. Loh said after seasonal adjustment, the county’s jobless rate fell from 3.62% to 3.17%.

The other four counties in the metro area were all below 3% in September before seasonal adjustment, the state agency said.

Although unemployment dropped, job growth fell to 1.7% in September, with 12,400 jobs added to non-farm business payrolls in Northeast Florida from September 2018 to September 2019.

The growth rate had been 2.2% in August.

The best growth came in the professional, scientific and technical services sector which added 3,500 jobs in the 12-month period, a 7.7% gain.

Construction jobs rose by 2,600, or 5.8%.

However, the transportation, warehousing and utilities sector fell by 2,300 jobs in the 12 months, or 6%.

Florida's statewide job growth rate was 2.5% in the 12 months through September.

The statewide unemployment rate fell by 0.1 point last month to a seasonally adjusted 3.2%, the Department of Economic Opportunity said.

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