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June Jobless Rate Mixed In Western Panhandle


Florida's unemployment dropped slightly last month June, as the state added about 7,000 jobs according to the Department of Economic Opportunity.

“Today I’m excited to announce that in four years and six months, the state of Florida, the businesses in our state, have added 896,000 jobs,” said Gov. Rick Scott, who made the announcement at ODC Construction in Orlando, where 200 new jobs have been created over the past four years.

Florida’s jobless mark dipped from 5.7% in May to 5.5% in June. It remains higher than the national mark of 5.3%, but the lowest since March of 2008. It also translates to about 529,000 unemployed Floridians out of a 9.6 million member labor force.

“4,100 new jobs total, and in the private sector 3,900 jobs added over the year," said DEO Sec. Jesse Panuccio. “Which really follows the statewide trend of jobs. We had 12,200 private-sector jobs statewide over the month.”

Nearly 6,000 job openings in the Pensacola area were listed online in June, including nearly 1,200 for jobs in science, technology, engineering and math: the so-called STEM occupations.

“Those tend to pay more than other jobs,” Panuccio said. “They tend to require higher skill and have a better career path, and they’re really the jobs that are in demand out there right now.”

The unemployment rate for the Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent Metro area was unchanged at 5.4%. Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin dropped from 4.7% in May to 4.4% in June. It was a mixed bag for the western Panhandle counties. Escambia dropped from 5.8% to 5.7%; Okaloosa went from 4.6% to 4.4%, but Santa Rosa rose a bit, from 4.8% 4.9%.

When asked about what may happen in the third quarter, June, July and August, DEO’s Jesse Panuccio hedged a bit.

“I try not to predict, but I think the trend lines we’ve seen will continue,” Panuccio said. “Strong job growth and hopefully that will pull the unemployment rate down.”

Hendry County had the state's highest unemployment rate at 10. 3% The lowest was Monroe County’s 3.6% figure.

For all the information go to the Florida Department of Economic Activity report HERE.

Dave came to WUWF in September, 2002, after 14 years as News Director at the Alabama Radio Network in Montgomery, Mobile and Birmingham and a total of 27 years in commercial radio. He's also served as Alabama Bureau Chief for United Press International, and a stringer for the Birmingham Post-Herald.