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Jax Daily Record Monday, Mar. 14, 202211:52 AM EST

Jacksonville’s jobless rate rises after hitting historic low

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The area’s 3.3% in January is up from 2.6% in December, the lowest rate since at least 1998.
by: Mark Basch Contributing Writer

Jacksonville’s unemployment rate rose in January. However, revised data released March 14 by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity shows the jobless rate fell to historic lows in December.

The unemployment rate in the Jacksonville metropolitan area comprising Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties was 3.3% in January, the agency said.

It also said the area’s jobless rate in December, which it originally reported at 3.2%, actually was 2.6%.

That would be Jacksonville’s lowest unemployment rate since at least December 1998, when it also was 2.6%.

The Department of Economic Opportunity updates its data on the labor market every year with the January report, a process it calls benchmarking. That’s why the January data is not released until mid-March.

The data for the Jacksonville market is not seasonally adjusted. The rate typically rises in January as temporary workers hired for the holiday season are dismissed.

Without seasonal adjustment, Florida’s statewide unemployment rate rose from 2.9% in December to 3.5% in January. However, the Department of Economic Opportunity said when the rate is adjusted for seasonal factors, it was unchanged at 3.5% in January.

All five counties in the Jacksonville area saw increases in unemployment in January, with Duval County the highest at 3.5%.

St. Johns County’s 2.6% was the second lowest in the state behind Monroe County’s 2.3%.

Nassau County was at 2.9%, Clay County was 3% and Baker County was 3.1%.

Two counties near Jacksonville but not in the metro area, Hamilton and Putnam, tied for the highest jobless rate in Florida at 5.1%.

The Department of Economic Opportunity’s survey of business payrolls said Jacksonville area businesses shed 9,900 jobs from December to January.

However, total nonfarm employment of 744,900 was 29,900 higher than January 2021, a 4.2% growth rate.

The leisure and hospitality sector, hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, added 6,900 jobs from January 2021 through January 2022, a 9.2% growth rate.

That wasn’t the biggest gain. Professional and business services grew by 10,400 jobs in the 12-month period, a 9.4% increase.

The only major job losses were in the transportation, warehousing and utilities sector which lost 2,200 jobs, or 4.2%.

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