Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Florida News

FL puts smiley face on gruesome unemployment numbers, Columbia County moves up to 9.9%

By Stew Lilker

TALLAHASSEE, FL — This afternoon, December 16, 2011, Florida put a smiley face on gruesome unemployment numbers. Florida continues to reel with an unemployment rate in the double digits at 10%, which is the lowest since May 2009, when it was also 10%. This represents 926,000 jobless out of a labor force of 9, 228,000. While the state unemployment rate is dropping, last month Columbia County's unemployment rate moved up to 9.9%, one tenth of a percent below the state average.

Including the District of Columbia, eleven states remain with double digit unemployment. On that list Florida is the third lowest.

  Florida's chief economist talks about  growing jobs in high wage areas. (click speaker to listen)

In November, Hendry County continued to lead the state with an unemployment rate 15.1%, the only county in the state with a rate over 15%

On the low end there are two counties with unemployment rates of less than 7%, Liberty and Monroe.

Over the year the industry gaining the most jobs was trade, transportation, and utilities (+35,900 jobs, +2.5 percent).

The Florida construction industry, already decimated, continues to bleed jobs losing almost 6,000 jobs this year.

Those in the youngest age category, age 16 to 19, had the highest unemployment rate at 31.4%.

The real unemployment rate equalls almost 2,000,000 jobless

Looking at those who have just fallen out of the job market entirely would add another 7.9% rate to the state's 10%. That brings the total state admitted unemployment rate up to 17.9%, almost doubling the state's admitted number of unemployed to almost 2,000,000 jobless. This means that one of five Florida workers is out of work.

The state's chief economist, Rebecca Rust, mentioned today in her monthly report that only three days ago there had been a new economic estimating conference. Ms. Rust said, "The economists from the Legislature and the governor's office came together to have a consensus estimating conference on the Florida economy."

These wizards come up with among other things unemployment rate forecasts. Their forecast for this year was to have unemployment drop to 10.6%, but it has dropped to 10%.

Looking into their crystal ball, they expect the unemployment rate to decrease to 8.7% by the year 2014 and then to drop below 6% after the year 2020.

Time will tell. 

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

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