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Jax Daily Record Monday, Oct. 25, 202104:40 AM EST

Jacksonville metro unemployment is lowest in Florida

The rate fell to 3.7% in September as the area gained 30,300 jobs over the year.
by: Mark Basch Contributing Writer

Jacksonville’s unemployment rate fell in September, with Northeast Florida businesses reporting payrolls above pre-pandemic levels.

The unemployment rate in the Jacksonville metropolitan area of Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties fell from 4.3% in August to 3.7% in September, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity reported Oct. 22.

That was the lowest jobless rate of any of Florida’s large metro areas.

Florida’s statewide unemployment fell by 0.1 percentage point to a seasonally adjusted 4.9%. 

The Department of Economic Opportunity does not provide seasonally adjusted data for local areas in its monthly reports.

All five counties in the Jacksonville metro area had drops in unemployment last month. 

Duval County had the highest rate at 4.1% but St. Johns County had the second-lowest rate in the state at 2.9%, behind Monroe County’s 2.6%.

Nassau County was tied for the fourth-lowest rate at 3.2%. Clay County was close behind at 3.3% and Baker County was at 3.6%.

One Northeast Florida county outside of the metropolitan area continued to have one of the highest rates in the state. Putnam County’s 5.9% jobless rate was the state’s second-highest behind Hendry County’s 6.7%.

The department’s survey of business payrolls found the Jacksonville area added 5,400 nonagricultural jobs in September and the number of jobs jumped by 30,300 from September 2020 to September 2021, a 4.3% growth rate.

That brought total nonfarm jobs to 736,000 in September, surpassing the pre-COVID-19 pandemic level of 732,000 in February 2020.

The area’s unemployment rate was 3.2% in February 2020.

Every major private sector industry has gained jobs in the past year as businesses reopened after pandemic-related closures in the spring of 2020.

The most job gains have come in the leisure and hospitality sector, which was hard hit by the pandemic.

Jobs in the sector grew by 1,900 in September and by 8,000 in the 12 months through September, a 12.3% increase.

Jacksonville lagged behind Florida’s statewide job growth rate of 4.8% in the 12-month period. 

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