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Jax Daily Record Friday, Mar. 22, 201910:24 AM EST

Jacksonville unemployment rate falls to 3.4 percent in February

But city's job growth in lags behind state, nation.
by: Mark Basch Contributing Writer

After a January spike in the jobless rate, Jacksonville’s unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage points to 3.4 percent in February, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity said Friday.

The state agency does not adjust the local data for seasonal factors and January’s rise in unemployment was a normal seasonal trend after businesses take on temporary workers for the Christmas holiday season.

While unemployment fell last month, job growth continued to be slow. The number of jobs on nonfarm business payrolls in the Jacksonville area grew by 7,400 from February 2018 through February 2019, a 1.1 percent growth rate.

That matched the 1.1 percent annual growth rate reported in January for the Jacksonville metropolitan area, which comprises Duval, Baker, Clay, Nassau and St. Johns counties.

The labor market was impacted by a drop in construction jobs, which had been rising in recent years.

Construction jobs in the Jacksonville area fell by 600, or 1.3 percent, from February 2018 through February 2019.

The biggest job losses came in financial activities, which fell by 1,400, or 2.1 percent, in the 12-month period.

Jacksonville’s job growth in February lagged behind Florida’s statewide growth rate of 2.4 percent, and the national increase of 1.7 percent in the 12-month period.

Florida’s unemployment rate had a similar drop as Jacksonville’s in February before seasonal adjustment. But when seasonal patterns are factored in, the statewide unemployment rate actually rose by 0.1 point to 3.5 percent, the Department of Economic Opportunity said.

Duval County’s unemployment rate fell from 3.9 percent in January to 3.5 percent in February, without seasonal adjustment.

St. Johns County continued to have one of the lowest unemployment rates in Florida, falling by 0.5 points last month to 2.9 percent. Only Monroe County was lower, at 2.4 percent.


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