Florida’s Unemployment Rate Hits An All Time Low Since Nov. 2008

Florida’s fiscal recovery continued to overtake the national average in December last year, even though there was some variation in the local numbers.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity released its December employment report on 18 of January this year. Florida’s statewide jobless rate decreased to 8%, its lowest level since November 2008, and was closing in on the national jobless rate of 7.8%.

In the previous year, Florida’s unemployment rate has fallen 1.9% while the national rate has dropped 0.7%.

“Florida continues experiencing growth in a number of economic indicators, including increases in housing starts, median home prices, online job ads, job placements and migration into the state,” Rebecca Rust, chief economist for the Department of Economic Opportunity, said in an email. “Florida’s long-term trends show a steady and modest economic recovery. Florida’s unemployment rate has shown significant improvement, declining from the recession high of 11.4% to the current 8%.”

Okaloosa County’s jobless rate dipped in December. However, Walton and Santa Rosa counties increased a little.

Okaloosa’s jobless rate dropped from 5.9% in November 2012, to 5.8% in December.  It had the third lowest unemployment rate in Florida for December.

Walton County’s unemployment rate increased to 5.7% in December last year, which still was the second lowest rate in the state behind Monroe County at 4.5%. Walton County’s unemployment rate was 5.5% in November.

Santa Rosa County’s jobless rate rose from 7.1% in November to 7.2% in December in 2012. It tied with Nassau and Hardee counties for the 19th lowest in the state.

“You’re going to see this through 2014,” said local economist David Goetsch. “You’re not going to see major changes. We’re going to see this tepid — a little bit up, little bit back — kind of unpredictable (changes), but you’re not going to see any big numbers. The economy is improving, but it just isn’t improving strong enough to show any major numbers.”

Although Goetsch anticipates the numbers to stay fairly steady in the coming months, there are issues that could change that. The Secretary of the Air Force implemented a civilian hiring freeze, which will affect Okaloosa more than most other counties in the state.

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