Florida unemployment rate remains in holding pattern


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida’s jobless rate continues to stand at 3.9 percent, where it’s been since the end of 2017, according to preliminary numbers released Friday by the state Department of Economic Opportunity.

An estimated 398,000 Floridians qualified as unemployed, 2,000 fewer than in March, from a workforce of 10.2 million.

With the state rate holding steady, it is now matched by the national unemployment rate, which hit 3.9 percent as May began after standing at 4.1 percent since October.

The reduction in the national rate has been seen as a sign that the employment market has become even more competitive.

In a news release Friday, Gov. Rick Scott highlighted that businesses in the state added more than 8,000 jobs in April. Service industry jobs grew by 4,900 from March to April.

The state also reported construction jobs grew by 1,200 in April, with manufacturing up 2,900.

Meanwhile, wholesale trade positions declined by 5,200 in the same month-to-month comparison, information technology jobs fell by 600 and financial activities positions were off 700.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Florida has had the third-largest number of job gains over the past year, trailing only California and Texas.

Florida is one of 24 states essentially matching the national unemployment rate. Hawaii has the lowest jobless rate at 2 percent. Alaska, at 7.3 percent, is the highest.

Across Florida, the Orlando area continues to lead the state in job growth, followed by Tampa, Jacksonville and Miami, according to a series of releases from the governor’s office.

The Jacksonville area added 16,700 new private-sector jobs in the last year, creating the third-highest number of jobs among all Florida metro areas, the release said. Jacksonville’s unemployment rate was a low 3.2 percent in April, down 0.6 percentage point from one year ago. 

Okaloosa and St. Johns counties had the state’s lowest unemployment rates, both at 2.7 percent. Franklin, Monroe, and Walton counties were each at 2.8 percent. Sumter County had the highest unemployment rate, at 4.9 percent, ahead of Citrus and Hendry counties, which were both at 4.7 percent.

To view the April 2018 employment data, visit Floridajobs.org.