State, local jobless rates decline in October

Published: Friday, November 16, 2012 at 12:44 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, November 16, 2012 at 4:42 p.m.

Gainesville’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.2 percent in October, the lowest level in more than three years, on the strength of the hospitality industry; and the state jobless rate reached a nearly four-year low of 8.5 percent, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity reported Friday.

Gainesville’s rate was down from 6.9 percent in September and 7.5 percent in October 2011. The 6.2 percent rate was the lowest since April 2009, when unemployment was 5.7 percent. It was the second lowest rate of 23 Florida metro areas behind Crestview-Fort Walton-Destin at 5.7 percent.

The household survey used to calculate the rate showed an increase of 2,027 people with jobs locally since September for a total of 131,351, while the number of unemployed dropped by 850 to 8,730.

The numbers are not seasonally adjusted and may reflect sharp fluctuations based on school years, agricultural harvests and holidays.

Statewide, seasonal increases in October were mainly in retail trade while schools returned to near normal job levels after the summer break, according to the DEO.

A separate employer survey showed a gain of 200 jobs over the year in Gainesville. Leisure and hospitality was the fastest growing sector with 700 more jobs, a 5.5 percent increase, followed by manufacturing with 100 new jobs. The largest losses were in state government, down by 300 jobs, and construction, which lost 200.

Florida’s unemployment rate dropped to 8.5 percent in October, the lowest rate since December 2008. The rate declined by 0.2 of a percentage point from 8.7 percent in September. The rate was 10.2 percent in October 2011.

The rate was based on 790,000 jobless out of a labor force of 9,342,000.

The number of jobs increased by 14,700, or 0.2 percent, over September and was up by 67,600 over the year, or 0.9 percent. National job growth was 1.5 percent over the year.

The U.S. jobless rate ticked up to 7.9 percent last month from 7.8 percent in September and was 8.9 percent a year prior.

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