Jobless uptick in Florida muddies economic message in state one week before RNC arrives
Wake up and good morning. Yes, Florida's unemployment rate is on the rise for the first time in a year, climbing to 8.8 percent in July from 8.6 percent the month before. And, more disturbing, Tampa Bay's metro-wide jobless rate rose to 9.4 percent from just 9 percent in the same period. Read more here from the Tampa Bay Times.
Wrong way, Florida.
We're not alone. Forty four states recorded unemployment increases in July and a good dozen states now have higher jobless rates than Florida. Only two states and D.C. had rate declines, and the remaining four states stayed the same. Not exactly a message of momentum there. But take a look over the past year and the numbers, though modest, seem better. Florida added 69,900 jobs between since July 2011 and Tampa Bay's enjoyed nearly a third of those gains, adding 20,500 jobs. And over that year, Florida is tied with Nevada and Mississippi with the biggest decline -- 1.8 percentage points -- in unemployment.
How do we stack up to other states?
* Here's how we rank in actual jobs created in the past year compared to other job gainers (July 2011 to July 2012):
- California: +365,100
- Texas: +222,500
- New York: +113,300
(Now here's where Florida should be as the fourth most populated state in adding jobs. But it is not. Instead it's...)
- Ohio: +100,300
- Florida: +69,900
Read more from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
One week before the Republican National Convention lands in Tampa, Florida's uptick in jobless numbers is muddying the economic message by Mitt Romney (See, Florida needs me, not Obama) and Florida Gov. Rick Scott (Pay no attention to the latest unemployment figures, Florida's still heading in the right direction). Read more from the Orlando Sentinel and the Lakeland Ledger. Swing states, including Florida, are mostly seeing upticks in jobless rates, as Examiner.com notes, which should help Romney's pitch. Gov. Scott's pro-jobs event at Port Manatee last Friday was washed out both by rain and news of the rise in our jobless rate, the Sarasota Herald Tribune reports. The higher the state unemployment rate, the more people who are without jobs and the greater the number of unemployment claims -- which, notes this story out of Lee County, is being paid for with borrowed money.
Romney photo: AP. Scott photo, Chris Zuppa, Tampa Bay Times.
-- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, Tampa Bay Times