State jobless rate on the rise


Published: Tuesday, January 25, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 24, 2005 at 10:31 p.m.
Statewide unemployment rose slightly in December at 4.5 percent compared with a revised rate of 4.4 percent in November, but remained 0.9 percent below the national rate of 5.4 percent, and below the state's 4.9 percent of a year ago, according to labor statistics released Friday by the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation.
Alachua County's unemployment rate continued its decline, registering 2.0 percent in December compared with 2.1 percent in November and 2.2 percent a year ago.
In the last two months of 2004, the Gainesville/Alachua County area added jobs in nonagricultural areas: 500 jobs in retail trade (holiday hires primarily); 200 in services; 200 in professional and business services; and 100 in other services.
The area also registered job losses in several areas: 100 in education and health services; 300 in leisure and hospitality; and 100 in government.
Marion County registered a December unemployment rate of 3.5 percent, down from a revised 3.7 percent in November and 4.0 percent a year ago.
Lafayette County again posted the lowest unemployment rate at 1.5 percent, followed by Liberty County at 1.8 percent, with Monroe County and Alachua County in a tie at 2.0 percent.
Statewide, the slight rise in the unemployment rate has little meaning, according to Workforce spokesman Warren May.
"The economists tell us it's not even a discernible difference," May said.
"If you look at the total labor market you see that more and more people are coming back into the market, which is good. It is an indication of confidence in the economy. That will keep the unemployment rate level.
"Overall, we're still looking very good. We continue to lead the national job market," May said.
Doris Chandler can be reached at (352) 374-5094 or chandld@gvillesun.com.

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