Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

Real news for working families.  An online newspaper

Florida News

Florida unemployment rate coasting at 10.7%
Columbia County up a notch to 10.6%

Florida's unemployment rate is coasting at 10.7%, with a real unemployment rate estimated to be 18.5%. Florida's long range forecast is weak. The state's chief economist, Rebecca Rust, reported this past Friday that Florida's unemployment rate is predicted to decrease to 10.6% by the end of next year. However the forecast is showing a gain in unemployment to 11% by the end of this year.

The nation's unemployment rate continued at 9.1% and Florida's unemployment rate has been greater than the nations since February of 2008. Florida had a 1/10 of 1% job increase over the past month. That is the state began the month with 7,233,100 and added 9,900 jobs.

During the 2011 legislative session, the Department of Economic Opportunity was created in response to Gov. Scott's wish to establish a more unified approach and rapid response for economic development and job creation in Florida. The Department of Community Affairs (DCA -- as it was commonly known) and the Gov.'s Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development (the old OTTED) was combined. The new department becomes operational on October 1, 2011.

In August, Tampa jumped to the top of the chart as the metropolitan area with the largest job gain since the beginning of the year – 14,800 jobs. The second and third metropolitan areas with the largest job gains were Miami and West Palm.

Columbia County - NFEDP - Not enough jobs

This month Columbia County ticked up to 10.6% unemployment, giving it a real unemployment rate of 18.4%. At last Thursday's County Commission meeting, with out a word, Columbia County's infamous good ol' boy County Commission unanimously slipped a million and a half dollar cash payment to the County Manager's best friend for mitigation bank credits it may never use.

During this time the 14 county NFEDP (North Florida Economic Development Partnership) had an overall unemployment rate of 9.8%. Removing the three counties with unemployment rates below the national average of 9.1% brings the average into double digits at 10.2% and a real unemployment rate of 18%, which represents almost one in five people out of work.

Ms. Rust reported that for every job opening in Florida 4.6 applicants apply for that job.

Home values plunge

Ms. Rust also reported that when we go back to the best of times in 2006, the median price for a home in Florida was $256,200. In July of this year, which represents the most current data available, it is now $136,500.

A new Florida indicator – Exports

Ms. Rust reported that exports were up over the year 18.5%. Florida's top trading partners are Switzerland, Brazil and Canada.

Summary by Economist Rust

We can say that since the January we are up by 71,600 jobs... When you look at just over the month for every job lost in the private sector Florida's gained two jobs. Florida is averaging so far this year just over 10,000 new jobs every month.

This past Friday, Ms. Rust explained how unemployment stays the same but Florida jobs increase. Listen to the answer by clicking the speaker.


At the conclusion of Economist Rust's report, Rebecca Marcia of the Sun Sentinel asked: What's the best way to explain that the unemployment rate stays the same, but Florida's gained nearly 10,000 jobs (in the past month)?

Ms. Rust answered: 



This work by the Columbia County Observer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

Comments  (to add a comment go here)

Meeting Calendar
No need to be confused - Find links to agendas and where your participation is welcome.

Make a comment • click here •
All comments are displayed at the end of the article and are moderated.