State unemployment rate falls below national average (document)

web unemployment sign hiring
FILE PHOTO / Northwest Florida Daily News
Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 05:56 PM.

For the first time in five years, Florida’s unemployment in January dropped below the national average.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity released its January employment report Monday. The statewide unemployment numbers decreased from 7.9 percent in December of last year to 7.8 percent in January. The national unemployment rate was flipped, increasing from 7.8 percent in December to 7.9 percent in January.

View the monthly unemployment numbers.

This is Florida’s lowest unemployment rate since November 2008 and the first time the state was below the national average since January 2008.

“The tourists are coming again. That helps,” said David Goetsch, a local economist. “We’re also seeing the biggest uptick we’ve seen in seven years in construction. It’s not like it was pre-recession days, but we’re seeing some new construction throughout the state. And those are your two big ticket items in the state.

“We will continue to do well when compared to the rest of the nation, but perhaps not to the extent we are today,” Goetsch added. “I think the gap between us and the nation will close somewhat and you’ll probably even see some states that will do better than us. But I don’t think you’re going to see Florida go backwards.”

In the past year, Florida’s unemployment rate has dropped from 9.2 percent in January 2012 to its current rate. The national economy has been improving much more slowly.



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