This morning, the government released the latest report on the job market for Florida and its counties/cities. First, the headlines. The unemployment rate in Florida remained at 8.8% while the state added 23,200 jobs in August (seasonally adjusted). For Metro Orlando, the unemployment rate declined from 9.1% to 8.7% and the metro area added 17,100 jobs (not seasonally adjusted).
The numbers for Florida are OK. Employment growth was more rapid than in previous months, but the leading industries were administrative and waste service (which includes temp jobs), accommodation & food services, and construction. In addition, there was a rebound in private education jobs (remember that the data is seasonally adjusted). The labor force participation rate declined below 60%, falling from 60.7% in August 2011 to 59.9% in August 2012. If the participation rate had remained constant over the last year, the unemployment rate would be 10% instead of 8.8%. Thus, Florida has added jobs in the last year, but most of the decline in the unemployment rate has been due to fewer people participating in the labor force.
Most of the decline in the unemployment rate for metro Orlando is due to seasonal factors, but the seasonally adjust rate will probably show a small decline when reported later this month (the seasonally-adjusted rate was 8.6% in July while the unadjusted rate was 9.1%; the seasonally-adjusted rate will probably be 8.4 or 8.5% in August). The employment gain of 17,100 was the second largest for the month of August since 1988 (the first year that comparable data was available; only exceeded in 2006). The gain moved Orlando from year-over-year employment growth of 1% in July to 2.6% in August (making it the fastest growing metro area in Florida). Of course local government added jobs as public schools reopened (and local data is not seasonally adjusted). The other sector that stands out is professional and business services, which added 6500 jobs and now is the fastest growing sector over the last year, showing a gain of 4.4% since August 2012.