Florida job growth favorable compared to other states, though income still lags

Published Nov. 24, 2015

While Florida's jobless rate in October again fell, this time to a 7-year low of 5.1 percent, it remains a shade higher than the nation's 5.0 percent rate. And it is still higher than the unemployment rates in 26 other states, including eight states with rates under 4 percent, and an additional two with rates under 3 percent.

As state economic recoveries go, Florida's is rebounding well. Just not as robust as some states are doing these days.

Still, there are largely good job-related numbers to report for the Sunshine State versus other states — an important monthly comparative measure to gauge Florida's health. The one glaring exception? Household income.

RELATED: Florida unemployment rate hits 7-year low with spurt in job creation

Let's compare three key numbers, as reported by federal and state agencies:

* 35,200: Florida's increase in October employment. That's second only to California's gain of 41,200 and ahead of No. 3 Ohio at 30,800. Ohio is surging since Texas typically would rank among the top three in monthly job gains.

Texas gained 20,000 jobs in October yet still found that its seasonally adjusted unemployment rate actually rose to 4.4 percent from 4.2 percent in September. That's the second straight monthly uptick for Texas as job creation failed to keep up with the volume of workers moving there from other states.

* 239,900: That's the number of jobs Florida has added in the past 12 months, second in the nation only to California's 463,000 gain in jobs. Texas was No. 3 with 203,900 added jobs in the past year with New York (+164,000) at No. 4 and a close numbers battle thereafter among Georgia (+97,100), Washington (+92,800) and North Carolina (+91,000).

Three states lost jobs in the past year. West Virginia was down 13,700. North Dakota lost 9,700 jobs but still reported the lowest unemployment rate for the month at 2.8 percent. Louisiana also lost a small number of jobs in October.

None of the other five states in the Southeast, all with unemployment rates in the high 5's and low 6 percent range, comes close to Florida's rate of 5.1 percent.

* $47,463: That's Florida's median household income in 2014, the latest annual figure available. That's $6,194 less than the U.S. median household income figure of $53,657.

How does Florida compare with other large population states? In Texas, the median household income is $53,035. In California it is $61,933. And in New York it is $58,878 — all reminders of how much Florida households lag other large states on the income front.

Contact Robert Trigaux at Follow @venturetampabay.