The state’s jobs economy remained on a roll in October. About 21,400 new jobs were created and the unemployment rate remained the same as a month earlier at 3.2 percent, according to numbers released by Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity on Friday.
About 331,000 people were looking for jobs, down by 5,000 from September. The overall workforce grew slightly to 10.5 million.
Most of the state’s major sectors, including construction, financial activities and manufacturing, added jobs in October or remained the same as the month before. The government sector and the catch-all “Other Services” shed jobs.
Twenty-three out of 24 metro areas in Florida added jobs compared to October of last year. The Orlando area led the way with 44,900 new jobs, followed by the Tampa Bay area with 34,800 and Miami with 23,600.
Panama City, still digging out from last year’s Hurricane Michael, lost 500 jobs compared to October 2018.
Among Florida’s 67 counties, Monroe (home to Key West) had the lowest unemployment rate at 2 percent. Hendry, which relies heavily on agriculture, was highest at 5.8 percent
The unemployment rates in October for counties in the Tampa Bay area:
Hillsborough — 2.8 percent
Pinellas — 2.6 percent
Pasco — 3.2 percent
Hernando — 3.8 percent
Citrus — 4.1 percent
Manatee — 2.9 percent
Sarasota — 2.7 percent
Florida’s record low unemployment rate was set in May 2006 when it reached 3.1 percent. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment figures for Florida go back to 1976).
The national unemployment rate in October was 3.6 percent.