Florida's jobs report for July won't be out for another week, but based on a sneak peek Wednesday, we might want to shut our eyes.
Payroll and human resources company ADP estimated that Florida added only 12,250 private-sector jobs last month, a sharp decline from the 17,440 new jobs cranked out in June and far less than other populous states. California added nearly three times as many jobs as Florida, according to ADP. Texas (21,860 jobs) and New York (14,140 jobs) were also ahead.
"During the month of July, the Western region saw an accelerated growth rate compared to the previous month," said Ahu Yildirmaz, senior director of the ADP Research Institute. "As a result, the West has replaced the South as the strongest contributor of growth."
Nearly all the new Florida jobs (11,070) were on the service side instead of the goods-producing side. Trade, transportation and utilities, which includes lower-paying retail jobs, led the way statewide with 4,350 new jobs. Manufacturing added an anemic 140 jobs, down from 1,050 jobs a month earlier.
Florida's unemployment rate has fallen steadily since 2010. But, at 7.1 percent, it still remains well above a level consistent with a healthy economy. A drop in the labor force participation rate also points to a persistent problem of sidelined jobless who have temporarily stopped seeking work and are therefore no longer counted in the unemployment rate.
Moreover, many of the newer jobs have been in lower-paying industries such as leisure and hospitality, retail and health care.
ADP's figures are often viewed as a precursor to the broader government unemployment report. Unlike the U.S. Labor Department, however, the company does not include increases and losses in government jobs in its calculations.
The newest unemployment numbers for Florida and Tampa Bay will be released Aug. 16.