Florida jobless rate remains at 2.7%

Florida’s unemployment rate remained at 2.7% last month, unchanged from July’s rate and August 2022’s level, the Florida Department of Commerce reported Friday.

This contrasts to the national rate of 3.8%, which rose 0.3 percentage point last month from 3.5% in July. It was the 34th month in a row the state’s jobless rate remained below the national rate.

In August, Florida also extended its trend of outpacing the national rate for private sector job gains and total labor force growth, seeing a rise of 0.1%, or 12,500 jobs last month from July.

The employment data “signals a healthy labor market that continues to grow and attract new workers,” says Jimmy Heckman, bureau chief at Florida’s Department of Commerce.

Chip Barnett

Since 2019, Florida has seen more than 2.5 million new businesses created. Year-over-year, Florida’s private sector employment increased 2.9% compared to the national growth rate of 2.0%.

The state’s total labor force grew 2.8% on the year, faster than the national rate of 1.9%. Florida’s labor force growth rate has outpaced the national rate for 30 straight months.

“The unemployment rate of 2.7% in August represented 303,000 jobless individuals out of a total labor force of 11 million,” said Jimmy Heckman, bureau chief at the commerce department.

Total employment increased by 33,000, or 0.3% in August from July and was up 297,000, or 2.8%, on a year-over-year basis, Heckman said at a press briefing after the data release Friday.

Florida’s construction industry saw a third straight month of growth while new construction permitting also increased. This is seen as a positive indication for the long-term growth of the state’s economy. Florida’s leisure and hospitality sector gained 2,300 jobs, the first monthly increase since April.

The trade, transportation and utilities sector gained the most jobs among all major industries in August, followed by education and health services and leisure and hospitality. 

“Continued job creation in service industries that generate revenue for businesses and communities and increases in housing permitting, point to Florida’s economic stability,” said Secretary of Commerce J. Alex Kelly.

The Miami metropolitan statistical area had the lowest unemployment rate in the state, said Heckman. The Miami metro area unemployment rate declined to 1.9% from the 2.9% seen in August 2022.

The Miami area also saw the second-highest number of private sector job gains among all metro areas in the state. The Miami area added 36,900 new private sector jobs last month, a 3.3% increase on the year.

The Miami area led all metro areas in the state in job gains over the year in trade, transportation and utilities, government and other services. The industries gaining the most jobs were trade, transportation and utilities and education and health services.

The Orlando MSA unemployment rate increased 0.1 percentage point to 3.1%, up from 3.0% in August 2022.

The Orlando area labor force rose 4.2% on the year and saw a 2.8% increase in private sector job gains. In August, the Orlando area led all other metro areas in job gains in leisure and hospitality and information.

The Tampa area saw the highest number of private sector job gains in the state last month and led all metro areas in job gains on the year in education and health services, professional and business services and construction. The Tampa area labor force increased 4.8% last month.

The state employment data “signals a healthy labor market that continues to grow and attract new workers,” Heckman said.

In August, Fitch Ratings affirmed Florida’s issuer default rating and $6.4 billion of outstanding general obligation full faith and credit bonds at AAA. Florida’s GO are rated Aaa by Moody’s Investors Service and AAA by S&P Global Ratings.

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