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Jax Daily Record Friday, Sep. 17, 202111:00 AM EST

Jacksonville unemployment rate falls to 4.3%

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Area business payrolls added 29,300 jobs since August 2020, nearing the pre-pandemic level of 732.000.
by: Mark Basch Contributing Writer

Jacksonville’s unemployment rate fell in August as payrolls of Northeast Florida businesses inched closer to pre-pandemic levels.

The jobless rate in the Jacksonville metropolitan area of Duval, Baker, Clay, Nassau and St. Johns counties fell from 4.5% in July to 4.3% in August, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity reported Sept. 17.

The number of jobs on nonfarm business payrolls rose by 1,400 in August and was up 29,300, or 4.2%, since August 2020 as the economy continues its recovery from last year’s COVID-19 pandemic-related shutdowns.

With business payrolls at 729,200 in August, the Northeast Florida economy was near its pre-pandemic level of 732,000 in February 2020.

However, the unemployment rate was well above the February 2020 level of 3.2%.

Although the number of jobs increased in the 18-month period, the size of the labor force grew by about 35,000, with 829,406 people saying they had jobs or were actively looking for work in August 2021. So, the unemployment rate was significantly higher.

Duval County’s unemployment rate fell by 0.2 percentage points last month to 4.7% but the other four counties in the metro area were lower, with two counties reporting some of the lowest rates in the state.

St. Johns County’s unemployment rate of 3.4% in August was the second-lowest among Florida’s 67 counties, trailing only the 3% rate in Monroe County.

Nassau County tied for the fourth lowest at 3.8%.

Clay County was close behind at 3.9% and Baker County was at 4.1%.

While not part of the Jacksonville metropolitan area, one Northeast Florida county reported one of the highest jobless rates in the state.

Putnam County tied with Highlands County for the third-largest unemployment rate of 6.5%, behind Hendry County at 7.4% and Miami-Dade County at 6.7%.

Florida’s unemployment rate fell by 0.1 point last month to a seasonally adjusted 5%. 

The Department of Economic Opportunity does not adjust the Jacksonville data for seasonal factors. 

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