Jobs continue to elude Florida, Palm Beach County

By David Sedore, Palm Beach

DELRAY BEACH — Jobless rates continued to move upward in Palm Beach County last month, and could continue to do so for some time.

And forget previous predictions that Florida’s statewide rate would top out at 10.2 percent in early 2010. It’s already higher.

Florida’s Agency for Workforce Innovation reported Friday that Palm Beach County’s jobless rate for June hit 11.1 percent, up from 10.4 percent in May and 6.5 percent in June 2008. The county rate is not seasonally adjusted, and typically jumps a bit as summer hits and schools let out and the hospitality sector slows.

The statewide rate hit 10.6 percent, the highest it’s been since October 1975. That’s up from 10.3 percent in May and 6.0 percent a year ago.

“Given the indicators we see, we can expect to see unemployment increase,” said Rebecca Rust, the chief economist for the agency. “We hope the stimulus will help us, but . . . unemployment can increase, and has increased historically, even after the recession ended.”

Last February, the Florida Economic Estimating Conference, a group of economists employed by the Legislature and the governor’s office predicted unemployment would top out at 10.2 percent during the first quarter of 2010. The economists were meeting Friday to revise their forecast.

Florida lost 20,000 jobs in June, and 393,000 jobs for the 12 months through June, an annual rate of -5.1 percent. The number out of work: 970,000.

Palm Beach County lost 4,075 jobs in June, bringing the total unemployed to 69,108. A year ago there were 40,794 jobless workers.

Worst industries hit statewide: Professional and business services, down 88,500 jobs over the past 12 months; trade transportation and utilities, down 80,400; construction, down 80,400; leisure and hospitality, down 48,500; manufacturing, down 42,300; financial services, down 22,600.

The only sector gaining jobs: Education and health services, 5,800; Rust said all of that came from the health services side of the sector, and most of that came from nursing and residential care facilities.

Also from Friday’s report: Broward County’s jobless rate jumped to 9.4 percent from 9.0 in May and 5.3 percent a year ago. The number of unemployed hit 94,552.

In Miami-Dade, the jobless rate hit 11.5 percent, up from 9.7 percent a month earlier and 5.8 percent a year earlier.



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JULY 16, 2009 click to go home
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