News Section: State Government
Florida's December Jobs Numbers Spark Optimism
BRADENTON – Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8.0 percent in December 2012, the lowest since November 2008 when it was 7.8 percent, according to a report released Tuesday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. Locally, Manatee County beat the statewide average, coming in at 7.8 percent. While total jobs in the state were lower than the month before, the year ended with more jobs than 2011.
There were 749,000 jobless Floridians out of a labor force of 9,347,000. The December rate was down 0.1 percentage point from the November rate of 8.1 percent and was 1.9 percentage points lower than the year-ago rate of 9.9 percent.
The U.S. unemployment rate was 7.8 percent in December. Florida’s seasonally adjusted total nonagricultural employment was 7,388,100 in December 2012, a decrease of 15,300 jobs (-0.2 percent) over the month, but over the year jobs were up 54,900, an increase of 0.7 percent. Nationally, the number of jobs was up 1.4 percent over the year.
Nationally, initial Claims for unemployment insurance fell to the lowest level since January 2008. Though it was the biggest decline in two years, the drop was owed partly to seasonal distortions. Still, housing and jobs numbers suggest the economy is stabilizing and might gain momentum later this year.