Florida's unemployment dips to 2.7%
Florida’s unemployment rate dipped to 2.7% in July, matching the level before the COVID-19 pandemic slammed into the economy in early 2020.
According to the state Department of Economic Opportunity, the July rate was down from 2.8% in June and 4.5% in July 2021, and comes amid signs that inflation has slowed.
The Pensacola area’s private sector employment increased by 4.2% over the year, representing 6,800 jobs gained. The Pensacola area labor force increased by 6,523, a 2.8% increase over the year.
The Pensacola area unemployment rate was 2.8 percent in July 2022, down 1.7 percentage points from the July 2021 rate of 4.5 percent. Elsewhere, Santa Rosa County’s jobless rate was 2.6%; Okaloosa was 2.3, and Walton County 2.4%
The industries gaining the most jobs over the year were professional and business services, increasing by 2,300 jobs, and leisure and hospitality, increasing by 1,300 jobs.
In the latest report, the number of Floridians out of work in July stood at 283,000 from a workforce of about 10.66 million.
DEO chief economist Adrienne Johnston says the state economy continues to benefit from reopening earlier than other states after the initial hit of the pandemic.
“We see strong consumer demand continuing, even today,” she said. “As that continues to grow, we are going to see strength in our employment.”
In February 2020, just before the pandemic disrupted the economy, Florida had a jobless rate of 2.7%.
By May 2020, 1.4 million Floridians qualified as unemployed, and the jobless rate reached 13.9%.
Job openings in Florida now stand at 588,000, up 12,000 from a year ago.