Florida unemployment rate falls below national average

Gov. Rick Scott delivers his State of the State address Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in the Florida House of Representatives in Tallahassee, Fla. The Florida Legislature convened today for its annual 60-day session. (AP Photo/Phil Sears)

Gov. Rick Scott delivers his State of the State address Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in the Florida House of Representatives in Tallahassee, Fla. The Florida Legislature convened today for its annual 60-day session. (AP Photo/Phil Sears)

FILE- In this Sept. 12, 2012 file photo, Florida Gov. Rick Scott talks with a group of teachers Monday, at Fort Walton Beach High School in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. as part of his Education Listening tour of the state.  Gov. Scott is preparing to give his third state of the state address next week and while the major theme - jobs - will still be the same, Scott has undergone a transformation. He's cozying up to teachers instead of antagonizing them, he's learned the art of compromise with the Legislature and he's even cooperating with the federal government to put the president's health care plan into place. (AP Photo/Northwest Florida Daily News, Devon Ravine, File)

FILE- In this Sept. 12, 2012 file photo, Florida Gov. Rick Scott talks with a group of teachers Monday, at Fort Walton Beach High School in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. as part of his Education Listening tour of the state. Gov. Scott is preparing to give his third state of the state address next week and while the major theme - jobs - will still be the same, Scott has undergone a transformation. He's cozying up to teachers instead of antagonizing them, he's learned the art of compromise with the Legislature and he's even cooperating with the federal government to put the president's health care plan into place. (AP Photo/Northwest Florida Daily News, Devon Ravine, File)

Florida’s unemployment rate for January was its lowest since November 2008, and fell below the national average jobless rate for the first time since January 2008.

Florida’s January unemployment rate decreased below the national average to 7.8 percent — down from the revised December 2012 rate of 7.9 percent.

Gov. Rick Scott announced Monday that Florida has created 282,200 private-sector jobs since December 2010.

Collier County’s unemployment rate remained at 7.5 percent in January, just as it was in December 2012. Lee County’s unemployment rate of 7.9 percent in January also matched the December 2012 rate, the Department of Economic Opportunity reported Monday.

“What businesses are telling us is that construction is making a little bit of a comeback,” said Jim Wall, communications director of the Southwest Florida Workforce Development Board.

Collier County’s unemployment rate was a decrease from 8.7 percent in January 2012 to 7.5 percent in January. Lee County’s unemployment rate also dropped, from 9.6 percent in January 2012 to 7.9 percent in January.

“Those are great gains,” Wall said.

However, Wall said Southwest Florida has to be cautious because of its visitors in the area for season.

“The true test is what will happen in the next two or three months,” he said.

Collier County’s unemployment rate was a decrease from 8.7 percent in January 2012 to 7.5 percent in January. Lee County’s unemployment rate also dropped, from 9.6 percent in January 2012 to 7.9 percent in January.

Wall expects the unemployment rate to increase.

“Because we had such a great year through tourism, those numbers will go up, which also emphasizes the need for Southwest Florida to diversify the economy to bring in other types of businesses that are not so dependent on our wonderful winter weather,” Wall said.

Scott, who ran almost solely on a platform of lowering the state’s jobless rate, said it’s more vindication that his “let’s get to work” theme is showing success.

“Everything we do is geared toward job creation — today we have more proof that ‘it’s working,’ ” Scott said in a statement, hitting a new catch phrase he’s rolled out in the past couple of months.

Scott went to Mitsubishi Power Systems in Orlando to highlight the new numbers, while continuing to call for a tax break for manufacturers who are buying new equipment.

Jobs graphic.

Jobs graphic.

“We are glad to see our unemployment rate fall below the national average for the first time in years, but our work isn’t done until every Floridian who wants a job can find one,” Scott said.

Over the month, the state experienced an increase of 14,700 private-sector jobs.

Since Scott took office, the state’s unemployment rate has dropped 3.3 percentage points. Florida’s January unemployment rate of 7.8 percent was lower than the January national average of 7.9 percent.

“Everything we do is geared toward job creation. Today we have more proof that it’s working,” Scott said in a news release Monday. “Our unemployment rate is down to 7.8 percent — falling below the national average for the first time in five years. We have added more than 280,000 private-sector jobs over the last two years, and as we continue to focus on greater economic growth, we will see even more jobs created.”

In dropping to 7.8 percent, Florida’s jobless rate is now at its lowest point since November 2008, near the beginning of the recession, and down from over 9 percent just a year ago.

Every March, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity release January employment and unemployment estimates as well as revised historical data. Monday’s announcement is the result of that annual process, which is known as “benchmarking.” These benchmark revisions are a standard part of the estimation process and take place this same time every year in each state nationwide.

Because of the processing time needed to prepare the annual benchmarking updates, the release of February 2013 preliminary employment data is scheduled for March 29.

In dropping to 7.8 percent, Florida’s jobless rate is now at its lowest point since November 2008, near the beginning of the recession, and down from over 9 percent just a year ago.

And rather than simply improving the rate by losing workers from the workforce — as was the case with some earlier gains — Florida’s economy created jobs in January, the Department of Economic Opportunity said.

There were 15,400 more jobs in January than in December, a 0.2 percent increase, putting the total employment in the state at more than 7.4 million. Trade, transportation and utilities led the way in job growth among all sectors, the agency said.

A tourism rebound is also starting to be evident. The hospitality industry continued to come back in January, with 3.5 percent growth in job creation. Construction was slightly down month-to-month, but year-over-year the building industry is up 7 percent.

Posted earlier

Florida’s unemployment rate for January was its lowest since November 2008, and fell below the national average unemployment rate for the first time since January 2008.

Florida's January unemployment rate decreased below the national average to 7.8 percent — down from the revised December 2012 rate of 7.9 percent. Gov. Rick Scott announced Monday that Florida has created 282,200 private-sector jobs since December 2010.

Collier County’s unemployment rate remained the same at 7.5 percent in January and in December 2012. Lee County’s unemployment rate also stayed at 7.9 percent in January and in December 2012, the Department of Economic Opportunity reported Monday.

"What businesses are telling us is that construction is making a little bit of a comeback," said Jim Wall, communications director the Southwest Florida Workforce Development Board.

Moreover, Collier County’s unemployment rate decreased, from 8.7 in January 2012 to 7.5 percent in January. Lee County’s unemployment rate also dropped, from 9.6 percent in January 2012 to 7.9 percent in January.

"Those are great gains," Wall said.

However, Wall said Southwest Florida has to be cautious because of its visitors.

"The true test is what will happen in the next two or three months," he said.

Wall expects the unemployment rate to increase.

"Because we had such a great year through tourism, those numbers will go up, which also emphasizes the need for Southwest Florida to diversify the economy to bring in other types of businesses that are not so dependent on our wonderful winter weather," said Wall.

Over the month, the state experienced an increase of 14,700 private-sector jobs. Since Scott took office, the state’s unemployment rate has dropped 3.3 percentage points. Florida’s January unemployment rate of 7.8 percent was lower than the January national average of 7.9 percent.

“Everything we do is geared toward job creation. Today we have more proof that it's working," Scott said in a news release Monday. "Our unemployment rate is down to 7.8 percent – falling below the national average for the first time in five years. We have added more than 280,000 private-sector jobs over the last two years, and as we continue to focus on greater economic growth, we will see even more jobs created."

Every March, the U.S. Department of Labor’s, Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity release January employment and unemployment estimates as well as revised historical data. Today’s announcement is the result of that annual process, which is known as “benchmarking.” These benchmark revisions are a standard part of the estimation process and take place this same time every year in each state nationwide.

Because of the processing time needed to prepare the annual benchmarking updates, the release of February 2013 employment data is scheduled for March 29. For the remainder of 2013, the monthly releases of the prior month’s data will occur on the third Friday of each month. To view the January 2013 monthly employment data visit:

www.floridajobs.org/labor-market-information/labor-market-information-press-releases/monthly-press-releases

__ David Royse of the News Service of Florida and Daily News staff writer Tracy X. Miguel contributed to this report.

© 2013 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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