Local jobless rate dips below 5%

State unemployment now below 7 percent

Published: Friday, November 22, 2013 at 12:22 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, November 22, 2013 at 12:22 p.m.

In the two months since the last unemployment report — delayed by the federal government shutdown — Florida's jobless rate dipped below 7 percent for the first time in five years, and Gainesville's rate dropped below 5 percent.

Florida's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped from 7 percent in August to 6.8 percent in September and 6.7 percent in October, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity reported Friday. The October 2012 rate was 8.2 percent.

October's rate represented 625,000 jobless out of a labor force of nearly 9.4 million. Nonagricultural employment was up 0.6 percent with 44,600 new jobs over September and increased by 182,200 over the year, a growth rate of 2.5 percent compared with the U.S. rate of 1.7 percent.

The U.S. jobless rate in October ticked back up to August's rate of 7.3 percent after dropping to 7.2 percent in September. The rate was 7.9 percent in October 2012.

In the Gainesville Metropolitan Statistical Area — consisting of Alachua and Gilchrist counties — the unemployment rate dropped from 5.4 percent in August to 5.3 percent in September and 4.8 percent in October, the lowest level since April.

The October rate reflected 6,974 jobless locally out of a labor force of 144,919, based on household surveys.

An employer survey showed 1.8 percent growth with 2,400 more jobs over the year, with 3,300 additional private-sector jobs offset by a loss of 900 government jobs.

The biggest gains locally were in education and health services, up by 800 jobs, followed by 700 more jobs in professional and business services, 600 more in leisure and hospitality and 400 in retail trade. Federal government lost 500 jobs, and local government lost 400. State government jobs remained flat at 27,100 jobs.

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