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Robert Trigaux

Perspective: Bump in Florida's jobless rate to 11.7 percent is bad news but state's not alone



jobfairstpetecoliseum9.20.10.jpgWake up and good morning. Yes, Florida's unemployment rate has gone up again -- 11.7 percent in August from 11.5 percent in July. But we're not alone, and that's an important perspective to keep in mind. The jobless rate increased in 27 states last month, fell in only 13 and was unchanged in 10 states and Washington, D.C. That's worse than the previous month, this AP story notes, when the rate increased in only 14 states and fell in 18. It's also the most states to see an increase since February.

(Photo above (by Scott Keeler, St. Petersburg Times) shows scene from Monday's job fair at the Coliseum in St. Petersburg. Parisrice Robinson of Pinellas Job Corps, left, talks with Bob Christen, far right foreground, and Dwight “Ike” Bridges, both from Davaco of Dallas. Davaco, which builds and remodels locations for retailers like Target and Abercrombie & Fitch, was hiring lead installers, technicians, site surveyors and lead foremen who were open to travel.)

The Bureau of Labor Statistics puts out a monthly report examining jobless trends across the country. The good news is Florida is not among those states still hemorrhaging jobs over the month of August like Michigan (-50,300), Texas (-34,200) and California (-33,600). And obviously, struggling Florida cannot be counted among the job-gaining states like North Carolina (+18,600), Missouri (+3,600), Tennessee (+2,500) and Massachusetts (+2,100).

We seem to be entering the role of the middle bear: Not too hot and not too cold.

Here are some highlights about Florida's job scene culled from Tuesday's release of BLS data:

* In August, Florida and Maryland recorded the only statistically significant unemployment rate increases from July (+0.2 percentage point each). 

* Eight states reported statistically significant over-the-year jobless rate decreases in August, the largest of which were in Alabama (-1.4 percentage points), Tennessee (-1.3 points), and North Carolina (-1.2 points) -- notable since all three are in the Southeast.. Montana and Florida recorded the only significant rate increases from August 2009 (+1.0 and +0.7 percentage point, respectively).

* Four states still have unemployment rates higher than Florida: Nevada (14.4 percent), Michigan (13.1 percent), California (12.4 percent) and Rhode Island (11.8 percent).

Florida was the only state in the country with a statistically significant increase (+0.7) in its unemployment rate from August 2009 (11.0 percent) to August 2010 (11.7 percent), seasonally adjusted.

* In August of 2009, Florida's unemployed numbered 1,010,500. In August 2010, it had increased to 1,083,700, up 73,200.

Read the full BLS report here.

-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist


[Last modified: Wednesday, September 22, 2010 7:17am]


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