(The Center Square) – Florida continues to outpace the nation in job growth. Its workforce has expanded for 22 consecutive months, while over-the-year private sector job growth rate has exceeded the nation’s for 11 consecutive months, since April 2021.
Florida’s unemployment rate has also been lower than the national rate for 15 consecutive months, declining or holding steady for 19 consecutive months.
Florida’s unemployment rate fell in February to 3.3%, below the national rate of 3.8%, according to a new jobs report released by the state Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO).
“Florida’s freedom first policies have made Florida a great state for businesses and families to grow,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said. “When you put freedom first, you put hardworking families first, and every Floridian reaps the benefits. February’s economic data is more concrete evidence that Florida is on the right path.”
Florida’s seasonally adjusted total nonagricultural employment was 9,227,500 in February 2022, an increase of 51,000 jobs, or 0.6%, over the month, the DEO reports. Florida gained 530,200 jobs over the year, an increase of 6.1%. Florida’s job growth outpaced the national job growth rate of 4.6% over the year, the DEO says.
“Florida’s economic indicators have continued a positive trajectory and are surpassing pre-pandemic rates,” the governor said.
Florida’s total nonagricultural and private sector employment surpassed the February 2020 level in October 2021; labor force participation surpassed the February 2020 level in June 2021.
Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Secretary Dane Eagle said building a competitive and educated workforce provides the foundation for Florida’s economic growth and stability. It also contributes “to Florida’s low unemployment rate, outpacing the national rate for 15 consecutive months,” he said.
Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.3% in February 2022, down 0.2 percentage points from January 2022, the DEO reports. It’s also down 2.3 percentage points from a year ago. There were 348,000 jobless Floridians out of a labor force of 10,471,000, according to the data.
However, there are nearly 452,000 jobs available, the DEO reports. The majority of available jobs are registered nurses, retail salespersons, sales representatives, customer service representatives, first-line supervisors of retail sales, and managers, among others.
Floridians looking for work are encouraged to search online at CareerSource Florida network. They can also register with Employ Florida to search listings of available jobs, and take advantage of a range of free resources. The resources include assistance with writing resumes, writing and interviewing skills, establishing career goals, among others.
From February to April 2020, Florida lost 1,282,500 jobs. Since then, its gained back the same number of lost jobs and added more, totaling 1,434,500, the DEO reports.
All 10 major industries experienced positive over-the-year job growth in February, according to the data.
Leisure and Hospitality gained the most jobs of 177,200, a 17.1% increase. Trade, transportation, and utilities gained the next greatest number of jobs, 117,200, a 6.5% increase. Professional and business services gained the third-most of 100,200 jobs, a 7.1% increase.
Last month, Monroe County recorded the state’s lowest not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 2%. St. Johns County was slightly higher at 2.3%; Nassau County, Okaloosa County, Union County and Wakulla County each reported a 2.5% unemployment rate.
Hamilton County had the highest unemployment rate of 4.5%, followed by Highlands County and Putnam County, each reporting 4.4%.
Also last month, nearly all – 23 out of 24 – metro areas reported over-the-year job gains for nonagricultural not seasonally adjusted employment. The areas with the largest gains were Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, adding 112,700 jobs, or 9.2%. Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall added 81,700 jobs, or 7.1%. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater added 75,900 jobs, or 5.5%.
The only metro area that reported an over-the-year job loss was Sebring, which lost 100 jobs, or 0.4 percent of its workforce.