This morning, the government released the latest employments report for states and local areas (link to Florida report). The unemployment rate for Florida dipped slightly to 8.7%. As with the national numbers, the household survey (used to estimate the unemployment rate) was more positive than the establishment survey (used to estimate the change in payrolls). For the month, Florida added 800 jobs (though it should be noted that it added 23,900 jobs in August). The sectors posting the largest gains were Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (up 5000 jobs or 2.7%) and construction, which added 4200 jobs (+1.3%). This was offset by losses in administrative and waste services, which shed 9400 jobs (state data is seasonally adjusted).
For the second straight month, metro Orlando had a standout sector. Last month, professional and business services added 6100 jobs. This month, construction added 3500 jobs (up more than 10%), its largest monthly gain since at least 1990 (that's how far back the BLS data goes for metropolitan areas). Florida as a whole added 3000 construction jobs in September (not seasonally adjusted), so that entire gain and more was due to Orlando. Given these recent gains, Orlando now leads the state in employment growth over the last 12 months. The unemployment rate in Orlando declined to 8.4% (not seasonally adjusted). When the seasonally adjusted data comes out later this month, it will probably be 8.2 to 8.3%, the lowest since December 2008 (down from a peak of 11.5% in January 2010). It appears that the Orlando economy may be coming back to life. Time will tell if these gains continue.