Northeast Florida unemployment rises as more seek jobs

The rate increased from 2.3% in May to 2.9% in June as college and high school grads sought work.

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  • | 10:51 a.m. July 22, 2022
The professional and business services sector added 16,000 jobs since June 2021, a 14% growth rate.
The professional and business services sector added 16,000 jobs since June 2021, a 14% growth rate.
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Jacksonville continued to add jobs in June but with more people seeking work, the area’s unemployment rate rose to its highest level in four months.

The unemployment rate in the Jacksonville metropolitan area of Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties rose from 2.3% in May to 2.9% in June, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity reported July 22.

That was the highest rate since it also was 2.9% in February.

The number of people employed in the area rose by more than 5,000 last month to 813,564 but the number of people without jobs or seeking employment rose by more than 10,000 to 838,056.

That’s a normal seasonal trend in the spring as high school and college graduates begin looking for work. The Department of Economic Opportunity does not adjust the Jacksonville data for seasonal factors in its monthly reports.

Florida’s unadjusted unemployment rate also rose in June but the agency said when seasonally adjusted, the state’s jobless rate fell by 0.1 percentage point to 2.8%.

All five counties in the Jacksonville area saw an increase in unemployment. Duval County’s rate rose from 2.6% to 3.2%, the highest of the five counties.

St. Johns remained the lowest after rising from 1.9% to 2.3%. However, the county slipped in the state rankings to third-lowest behind Monroe’s 1.9% and Miami-Dade’s 2.2% rate.

St. Johns had been consistently ranking second among Florida’s 67 counties.

Nassau County’s rate was 2.5% in June, Clay was at 2.7% and Baker was 2.8%.

The Department of Economic Opportunity said nonfarm businesses in the Jacksonville area added 37,600 jobs from June 2021 through June 2022, a 5.2% growth rate.

Every major industry sector has gained jobs, led by the professional and business services sector, which added 16,000, a 14% growth rate.

The leisure and hospitality sector, hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, rebounded with a net gain of 8,200 jobs, or 10%.

While jobs are increasing, average wages fell slightly among Jacksonville businesses for the first time this year.

The average hourly wage fell from $33.24 in May to $32.95 in June, the Department of Economic Opportunity said.