Florida’s unemployment rate has slipped a bit in September, bringing it to its lowest point since June 2008, but still remaining mostly flat since last December.
The rate, according to Gov. Rick Scott’s office, was 6.1 percent in September, down from 6.3 percent in August. That was the result of 12,800 new private-sector jobs in the month, but the percentage of unemployed people is still larger than the rest of the nation.
The rate peaked at 11.4 percent in late 2009 and early 2010, while Gov. Charlie Crist was still in office. It was during the same time as a national economic crisis, which Florida was particularly hit hard because of its dependence on homebuilding and tourism — which suffered during the economic downturn.
However, that rate started to drop in April 2010, and was down to 10.9 percent when Scott took office in 2011. The rate would then not drop below 7 percent until September 2013, and has essentially remained flat at around 6.3 percent since last December.
The rate is still significantly higher than what it was in 2006, where the rate hovered around 3.3 percent.
In August, Florida’s unemployment rate was ranked 26th in the nation, tied with Arkansas and Missouri, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Georgia that month had the worst rate at 8.1 percent, while North Dakota could be statistically labeled as “fully employed” with a 2.8 percent rate.
Of the top five most populous states, with Florida ranked fourth with 19.6 million people, California was ranked 44th nationally in August with a 7.4 percent rate, New York was ranked 29th at 6.4 percent, Texas ranked 16th at 5.3 percent, and Illinois ranked 36th at 6.7 percent.
The governor’s office did point out other positive trends in the economy, including a 33.7 percent backlog reduction in existing homes on the market since December 2011, as well as a 2.9-percent increase in home prices in August compared to the previous year.
In September, Florida’s 24 regional work force boards reported more than 43,800 people were placed in jobs. This number is based on those who seek employment and training assistance through the center and finds a job with 180 days. Of that number, nearly 9,400 of them had been receiving unemployment benefits.