Jacksonville’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose in March, but jobs in the area continued to grow.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity reported Friday that the unemployment rate for the Jacksonville metropolitan area — consisting of Duval, Baker, Clay, Nassau and St. Johns counties — was 6.2 percent in March, unchanged from February.
However, when the data is seasonally adjusted, it shows the jobless rate in the area rose from 6 percent in February to 6.17 percent in March, the University of North Florida’s Local Economic Indicators Project said.
The number of people with jobs increased in March, but the seasonally adjusted jobless rate rose because more people were looking for work.
When people are not actively looking for jobs, they are not counted among the unemployed.
UNF economist Paul Mason said the unemployment rate is “not great news,” but “the fact that more people are in the labor force and more people are employed is good news.”
The Department of Economic Opportunity reported that jobs on employer payrolls in the Jacksonville area rose by 19,200 from March 2013 through March 2014, a 3.2 percent growth rate.
The job growth was led by the professional and business services sector, which rose by 9.5 percent.
The leisure and hospitality sector also grew strongly, at 7.3 percent.
The only major private sector category to lose jobs was financial activities, which declined by 0.7 percent. Government sector jobs fell by 0.5 percent.
Jacksonville’s job growth in the 12-month period was faster than Florida’s statewide growth rate of 3 percent, and also ahead of the national 1.7 percent growth rate.
Jacksonville’s unemployment rate was also better than Florida’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate of 6.3 percent in March, up from 6.2 percent in February.
The U.S. seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged in March at 6.7 percent.
Duval County’s unemployment rate was unchanged in March at 6.6 percent, the Department of Economic Opportunity said, but the state agency does not adjust the country and metropolitan area data for seasonal factors.
According to LEIP, when Duval County’s unemployment rate is seasonally adjusted, it shows an increase from 6.43 percent in February to 6.58 percent in March.