New graduates are seeking work as Northeast Florida added 15,900 jobs over 12 months, the highest pace of growth of the year.
Job growth strengthened in the Jacksonville area in June, but the unemployment rate rose as new college and high school graduates entered the workforce.
The unemployment rate in the Jacksonville metropolitan area of Duval, Baker, Clay, Nassau and St. Johns counties rose from 3% in May to 3.5% in June, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity said Friday.
Although employment rose last month, the size of the labor force surged by about 10,000, a normal late spring and early summer trend as new graduates seek jobs.
The labor force comprises people with jobs and people actively looking for work.
The state agency does not seasonally adjust its data for the Jacksonville area.
Duval County’s unemployment rate rose from 3.1% in May to 3.7% in June, without seasonal adjustment.
Meanwhile, the number jobs on nonfarm business payrolls in the Jacksonville area rose by 15,900 from June 2018 through June 2019, a 2.3% growth rate that was the area’s highest growth this year.
The biggest gains in the past year came in the leisure and hospitality sector which added 4,700 jobs, a 5.5% growth rate.
Other big gains came in education and health services, up 4,200, or 3.9%, and professional, scientific and technical services, up 4,000 or 8.9%.
A handful of industry sectors are losing jobs. The transportation, warehousing and utilities sector had a net loss of 1,700 jobs in the 12-month period, or 4.5%, and finance and insurance lost 800 jobs, or 1.4%.