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Florida jobless rate ticks up to 3.4 percent as Florida adds 10,900 jobs in January

Job growth was slightly slower in January, and the workforce grew slightly faster.

Florida’s unemployment rate ticked slightly upward to 3.4 percent while its private-sector job growth again outpaced the nation in January, according to new data from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the latest numbers Monday, reporting that Florida added 10,900 new private-sector jobs in January, led again by the Orlando market. That gives Florida an annual private-sector job growth rate of 2.7 percent, compared with the national pace of 2.1 percent.

“Florida’s economy is strong, but we cannot rest on our laurels,” DeSantis stated in a news release issued by the Department of Economic Opportunity. “We have to build on our success by keeping taxes low and regulations reasonable, becoming the number one state for career and technical education and making smart investments in our infrastructure and environment. Only then can we ensure every Floridian has the opportunity to achieve economic prosperity.”

In the past 12 months, through January, Florida added 207,000 new private sector jobs, according to the department’s monthly report. This comes even as Florida’s labor force grew by 161,000 workers during the year, an annual growth rate of 1.6 percent.

In January the department reported a statewide unemployment rate of 3.3 percent. The December numbers had shown 241,000 new jobs and 140,000 new workers over the running 12-month period.

In the latest report, the statewide jobs growth was led by professional and business services, which added 54,000 new jobs; education and health services, 35,900 new jobs; trade, transportation and utilities, 29,400; construction, 26,600; leisure and hospitality, 25,600; and financial activities, 16,700.

“Governor DeSantis’ bold vision for Florida’s economic future starts with the work our agency is doing today – prioritizing disaster recovery and workforce development,” Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Ken Lawson stated in the release. “We will continue to work to build a resilient and diverse healthy economic environment for Florida communities all across the state.”

Republican Party of Florida Chairman Joe Gruters credited the expanding jobs numbers to Republican leadership and predicted it will continue under DeSantis, Senate Prsident Bill Galvano and House Speaker Jose Oliva.

“Under Republican leadership, Florida has consistently sent a message that we are ‘Open for Business,’ and with the release of today’s job numbers, it is clear that Republican governance is good for the economy,” Gruters offered in a written statement.

“When government steps aside and allows the private sector to grow and thrive, employment opportunities also grow and Floridians thrive. Florida’s lower taxes and business-friendly environment make Florida the best place to live, work and raise a family,” he added.

Florida featured 273,740 new job postings in January.

The Orlando market, led by employment in the professional and business services sector and the leisure and hospitality sector,  again led the state in the 12-month period, adding 49,500 new private-sector jobs. The unemployment rate in Orlando was 3.6 percent, down 0.2 percentage point from one year ago.

The Miami market, led by the professional and business services sector and the education and health services sector, showed the state’s second-best growth, adding 29,300 new private-sector jobs in the last year. Miami’s unemployment rate was 3.9 percent, down 0.2 percentage point from one year ago.

The Tampa Bay market, led by new jobs in the professional and business services sector and the financial activities sector, was third, posting 21,200 new private-sector jobs in the last year. Tampa’s unemployment rate was 3.9 percent, down 0.1 percentage point from one year ago.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Stuart Trump

    March 11, 2019 at 3:44 pm

    Minimun wage jobs dont cpunt as jobs.

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