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Jax Daily Record Friday, Nov. 15, 201910:40 AM EST

Jacksonville metropolitan area unemployment rate falls to 2.8%

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The region added 22,900 jobs from October 2018 through October 2019.
by: Mark Basch Contributing Writer

Jacksonville’s unemployment rate edged lower in October as job growth surged, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity reported Friday.

The jobless rate in the Jacksonville metropolitan area (Duval, Baker, Clay, Nassau and St. Johns counties) fell from 2.9% in September to 2.8% in October.

Duval County’s unemployment rate was unchanged at 3% last month but the other four counties in the metro area were all below 3%, with St. Johns County the lowest at 2.4%

The Department of Economic Opportunity does not adjust the data for seasonal factors but according to the University of North Florida’s Local Economic Indicators Project, the unemployment rate for the area showed a similar decline on a seasonally adjusted basis.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment for the five-county metro area fell from 2.98% in September to 2.89%, it said, and Duval County’s jobless rate fell from 3.17% to 3.05% last month.

UNF economist Albert Loh said the unemployment rate remaining below 3% indicates a strong labor market for Northeast Florida.

“As we begin the holiday shopping season with a strong consumer sentiment regarding their financial situation, the employment conditions should remain strong,” he said.

The Department of Economic Opportunity’s survey of payrolls found businesses in the Jacksonville area added 22,900 jobs from October 2018 through October 2019, a 3.2% growth rate.

Job growth had been slipping the previous two months and was only 1.7% in September.

The growth was widespread with the biggest gain in the professional, scientific and technical services sector which added 5,300 jobs in the past year, or 11.7%

The construction sector was also strong, growing by 4,300 jobs, or 9.7%.

One exception to the growth was the transportation, warehousing and utilities sector which lost 1,500 jobs in the 12-month period, or 4%.

Jacksonville’s job growth beat Florida’s statewide growth rate of 2.6%.

Florida’s unemployment rate was unchanged at a seasonally-adjusted 3.2% in October, the Department of Economic Opportunity said.

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