Florida's unemployment rate flies higher
What's able to leap tall buildings at a single bound? Florida's rising unemployment rate might be a candidate. It hit 6.5 percent in August, the state Agency for Workforce Innovation reports this morning. That's 606,000 jobless out of a labor force of 9.32-million. The unemployment rate is up 0.3 percentage points from the revised July rate of 6.2 percent and up a whopping 2.3 percentage points from August 2007. Only Rhode Island had a bigger increase (3.4 percentage points) among all states in the past year. Put another way, Florida experienced a decrease of 99,100 jobs in the past year. Florida’s August 2008 unemployment rate is the highest since January 1995, which was also 6.5 percent. The state’s current unemployment rate is 0.4 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate of 6.1 percent.
Once again, Walton County had the lowest county unemployment rate in August 2008 of 3.8 percent, while Hendry County remained the highest at 14.2 percent.
Here's the clincher. Every single county in the Tampa Bay area has an unemployment rate higher than the state average. We're hurting here, folks. Here's how six area counties fared in August unemployment compared with a year ago.:
Pinellas: 6.6 percent, up from 4.2 percent.
Hillsborough: 6.7 percent, up from 4.3 percent.
Pasco: 7.9 percent, up from 5.2 percent.
Hernando: 9.0 percent, up from 6.1 percent.
Citrus: 8.4 percent, up from 5.4 percent.
Manatee: 7.3 percent, up from 4.5 percent.
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist