Metro Jacksonville unemployment falls to 2.9% in December, the lowest since May

Area employers added 2,600 jobs between November and December and 25,600 over the year, a 3.2% growth rate.

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  • | 2:31 p.m. January 19, 2024
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Jacksonville’s unemployment rate fell slightly in December to its lowest level since May, the Florida Department of Commerce reported Jan. 19.

However, job growth slowed in Northeast Florida.

The jobless rate in the Jacksonville metropolitan area of Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties fell from 3% in November to 2.9% in December, the lowest since it was 2.7% in May.

December is normally a month when unemployment drops as some businesses add staff for the holiday rush, but the data shows fewer people seeking work last month.

The labor force, consisting of people with jobs or actively looking for work, fell from 880,568 in November to 877,975 in December.

Because of the decline in the labor force, the unemployment rate fell despite a drop of almost 2,000 people saying they were employed.

All five counties in the metro area recorded a 0.1 percentage point drop in unemployment in December.

Duval County had the highest jobless rate at 3%, followed by Clay at 2.9%, Baker and Nassau and 2.8% and St. Johns at 2.6%.

The Department of Commerce does not adjust local area data for seasonal factors, such as typical holiday season hiring, in its monthly reports.

The agency said Florida’s statewide seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose by 0.1 point to 3%.

The unemployment data is gathered by a survey of households.

A separate survey of nonagricultural businesses showed an increase in jobs in December in Northeast Florida but the growth rate slowed down.

Jacksonville area employers added 2,600 jobs between November and December and added 25,600 from December 2022 through December 2023, a 3.2% growth rate.

However, that’s down from November’s growth rate of 3.8%.

Retail trade, a sector that normally increases hiring in December, added only 400 jobs, or 0.4%, from November.

Accommodation and food services lost 1,000 jobs during the month.

In the 12-month period through December, the biggest job losses came in administrative and support and waste management and remediation services, which fell by 2,400, or 3.8%.

The biggest growth sectors in the past year were private education and health services, up 9,200 or 7.6%, and professional, scientific and technical services, up 6,800 or 11.7%.

Jacksonville’s job growth rate was higher than Florida’s statewide rate of 2.5%.



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