Make us your home page

Florida unemployment rate surges to 8.6 percent

Florida's unemployment rate zoomed to 8.6 percent in January, representing 800,000 jobless out of a labor force of 9.3 million, according to figures released this morning.

The rate, the highest since September 1992, is up a full percentage point from the revised December rate.

In the Tampa Bay area, the unemployment rate reached 9.7 percent as the region has shed more than 42,000 jobs year over year. The one-month jumps in unemployment were sizeable in every bay area county:

• Pinellas posted an unemployment rate of 9.5 percent, up from 8.2 percent in December.

• Hillsborough's rate was 9.1 percent, up from 7.9 percent.

• Pasco's rate was 10.8 percent, up from 9.3 percent.

• Citrus' rate was 11.4 percent, up from 9.9 percent.

• Hernando's unemployment rate skyrocketed to 12.4 percent, up from 10.8 percent.

"Everyone in this industry is pretty much shell-shocked at this point," said Scott Brown, chief economist for Raymond James Financial in St. Petersburg. "Job losses have been so elevated that it's just a crisis of confidence."

One positive of the sharp rate of descent, Brown said, is it increases the odds the economy will see a sharp, V-shaped recovery once it does snap back. Earlier, there has been a widespread expectation that the economy would linger after bottoming-out and post a gradual, U-shaped recovery.

The state's analysis also revised figures from previous months, indicating when the state shed and in some cases added more jobs than previously thought. Year over year, Florida has lost 355,700 jobs, based on the revised estimates.

Typically, Florida relies on household surveys and employer surveys from the federal government to calculate the unemployment rate and job losses or gains. But once a year, it's required to revise its database using unemployment compensation tax records and other more detailed information.

National workforce statistics, which are running a month ahead of Florida's, also came out this morning. The Labor Department reported the country's unemployment rate jumped to a 25-year high of 8.1 percent in February with employers cutting 651,000 jobs.

The government also revised its figures for previous months indicating deeper payroll reductions than thought. The economy lost 681,000 jobs in December and another 655,000 in January, it reported.

Jeff Harrington may be reached at or (727) 893-8242.

Florida unemployment rate surges to 8.6 percent 03/06/09 [Last modified: Friday, March 27, 2009 12:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump shuts down CEO advisory councils as main group acts to disband


    President Donald Trump's main council of top corporate leaders disbanded on Wednesday following the president's controversial remarks in which he equated white nationalist hate groups with the protesters opposing them. Soon after, the president announced on Twitter that he would end his executive councils, "rather than …

    President Donald Trump meets with Merck's chief executive, Kenneth Frazier, second from left, and other leaders of the pharmaceutical industry in the Roosevelt Room of the White House last January. On Wednesday, Trump's main council of top corporate leaders disbanded following the president's controversial remarks in which he equated white nationalist hate groups with the protesters opposing them.
[New York Times file photo]
  2. A long-awaited vision for Tampa's Westshore Marina District

    Real Estate

    TAMPA —Eleven years after plans to develop a waterfront tract on the Tampa side of the Gandy Bridge were first announced, a new rendering gives a hint of what Westshore Marina District ultimately will look like.

    Rendering of Marina Pointe, a condo project overlooking Tampa Bay as part of the Westshore Marina District. [Courtesy of Masterfile Corp.}
  3. Buddy Brew Coffee to open downtown Tampa location


    TAMPA — Buddy Brew Coffee plans to open a new location in downtown Tampa at Park Tower in early 2018. The specialty coffee craft roaster, which was founded in 2010, has five other locations throughout Tampa including the Oxford Exchange, Sarasota, Hyde Park Village and Terminal F inside the Tampa International …

    A cappuccino is displayed at Buddy Brew in Tampa in January 2017. [CHARLIE KAIJO | Times]
  4. Where to pig out for National Bacon Lovers Day

    Food & Dining

    That's right: Sunday is the national day devoted to all things bacon, National Bacon Lovers Day. Which, really, isn't too different from the other 364 days of the year. But here's a little roundup of some special places to celebrate everyone's favorite meat snack (seriously, even vegans have a grudging respect …

    A creme-filled doughnut topped with maple frosting and bacon at Dough on MacDill Avenue in Tampa.
  5. The Penny Hoarder tops 79 fastest growing Tampa Bay companies on Inc. 5000


    ST. PETERSBURG — The Penny Hoarder on Wednesday further cemented its reputation as one of the country's fastest growing companies. The personal finance web site business ranks 25th nationwide and tops in the Tampa Bay market for growth on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing businesses.

    Vishal Mahtani (left), vice president of business development, Alexis Grant (center), executive editor, and Kyle Taylor, CEO and founder of The Penny Hoarder, celebrate the news with their staff  Wednesday of making the new Inc. 5000 ranking of fastest growing companies in the country. They enjoyed champagne during a catered lunch at their office in downtown St. Petersburg after ranking 25th nationwide and tops in the Tampa Bay market for growth on the just released 2017 Inc. 5000. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times ]