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Jax Daily Record Friday, Nov. 19, 202101:45 PM EST

Jacksonville unemployment unchanged at 3.7% amid job growth

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Hourly worker earnings surged in November with a worker shortage, UNF economist says. 
by: Mark Basch Contributing Writer

Jacksonville’s unemployment rate was unchanged in October as the number of jobs continued to grow, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity reported Nov. 19.

The jobless rate in the Jacksonville metropolitan area of Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties was 3.7% last month, the same as in September.

The state agency does not adjust the data for seasonal factors. But even when the data is seasonally adjusted, it still shows the unemployment rate barely moved from 3.8% in September to 3.82% in October, University of North Florida economist Albert Loh said.

“Employment increased while the unemployment rate remained low and the workforce continued to grow, which reflects a tight labor market,” Loh said.

“The shortage of workers relative to the high demand to hire ahead of the holiday shopping season also explained the rising wages,” he said.

“Average hourly earnings for all employees in the private sector has gone up from $30.51 to $31.83 (in October), which is the largest jump in a single month this year in Jacksonville.”

Duval County’s unemployment rate fell by 0.1 percentage point to 4% last month, the Department of Economic Opportunity said. 

Loh said when seasonally adjusted, the county’s jobless rate fell from 4.33% in September to 4.06% in October.

Duval County had the highest unemployment rate among the five counties in the metropolitan area.

St. Johns County continued to have the second-lowest jobless rate in the state at 2.9%, behind only Monroe County’s 2.5%, without seasonal adjustment.

Nassau County was tied for the fourth-lowest unemployment rate at 3.2%. Clay County was close behind at 3.3% and Baker County was at 3.7%.

Florida’s statewide unemployment rate fell by 0.2 points to a seasonally adjusted 4.6% in October.

The Department of Economic Opportunity’s survey of business payrolls found nonfarm employers in the Jacksonville area added 5,500 jobs last month and 29,000 jobs from October 2020 through October 2021, a 4.2% growth rate.

The construction industry led the way by adding 2,300 jobs last month and 4,800 in the 12-month period through October, a 10.3% increase.

The leisure and hospitality sector, which had been leading employment growth as the industry recovered from COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns, lost 1,900 jobs in October as the summer tourist season ended. But the sector still had a net gain of 4,400 in the 12 months, a 6% gain.

Statewide, jobs grew by 5.1% in the 12-month period to a seasonally adjusted 8.902 million in October. However, Florida has not recovered to its pre-pandemic peak of 9.072 million jobs in February 2020.

Jacksonville passed its February 2020 level of 732,000 jobs in September and reached 741,700 in October.

 

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