Florida's unemployment rate declined to 10% in November, the lowest since May 2009 (link to report). Unlike nationally, the decline in Florida was not accompanied by a huge decline in the labor force (which only fell by 1000 people). Florida added 8500 jobs in November, bringing the 12-month total to just over 98,000, an increase of 1.4% over the last 12 months. Private-sector employment rose by just over 12,000 for the month and 110,000 since November 2010. The strongest sector was retail trade, which added 8100 jobs (seasonally adjusted) while leisure and hospitality lost over 13,000 jobs (still up for the year).
Metro Orlando also experienced a decline in unemployment to 9.6% (not seasonally adjusted), down from 9.7% in October. Nonfarm payrolls rose by 6500 in Central Florida, most of which seems to be seasonal jobs (seasonally adjusted data will be available later this month). Over the last year, employment in Orlando has increased by 0.8% compared to 1.4% statewide. While Orlando was outperforming the state in terms of job growth in 2010 and early 2011, it has lagged the state in the second half of 2011.
The Florida job market continues to slowly improve. Given the leading role of retail trade, it'll be interesting to see whether this represents true employment growth or a change in seasonal hiring patterns not accounted for by the seasonal adjustments. Regardless, it's nice to see job creation and declining unemployment.