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Florida’s unemployment rate drops in October

It fell less than 1 percent from September.

Florida’s economy is slowly making gains eight months into the pandemic. Florida’s jobless rate dropped to 6.5 percent in October, down nearly 1 percent from the month prior, according to state figures released Friday.

The state added 51,600 jobs during that period, but compared to October of last year, was down 407,600 jobs — about 4.5 percent.

The uptick is part of the roughly 700,000 jobs Florida added since April, a little more than half of the 1.2 million jobs the state lost from February to April.

Many of the sectors that suffered early on from the dampened travel during the pandemic and diminished in-person services continued that trend compared to the same time last year.

Since October 2019, leisure and hospitality was down the largest number of jobs (198,000), followed by professional and business services (49,000) and government (39,000).

Tampa Bay’s unemployment rate for October was 5.6 percent, down from 5.7 percent in September. Hillsborough County’s jobless rate was also 5.7 percent, down from 5.9 percent. Hernando County’s rate was 6.1 percent, down from 6.2 percent the month before, while Pasco County’s rate was 5.5 percent, down from 5.6 percent the month before. Pinellas County had a 5.2 percent unemployment rate, down from 5.5 percent.

The vast majority of metro areas in the state — 20 out of 24 — lost jobs since last October.

Among the largest metro area job losses were in Orlando (124,900 jobs), Miami (74,900 jobs) and Fort Lauderdale (63,100 jobs).

Four metro areas gained jobs during that period, including Ocala (1,200 jobs), Punta Gorda (700 jobs), Sebring (300 jobs) and the Villages (200 jobs).

Nationally, the unemployment rate was 6.9 percent in October.

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