© 2024 All Rights reserved WUSF
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
You Count on Us, We Count on You: Donate to WUSF to support free, accessible journalism for yourself and the community.

Florida's unemployment rate in April was the highest in more than two years

A pink highlighter highlighting the word "unemployment" in a dictionary.
Devon Yu/Feng Yu
/
stock.adobe.com
Fake Dictionary, Dictionary definition of the word unemployment.

The state Department of Commerce on Friday released a report that estimated a 3.3 percent jobless rate, representing 361,000 Floridians qualified as unemployed in mid-April. The number of unemployed people was up by 8,000 from March. Meanwhile, the labor force totaled 11.095 million in April, down 2,000 people from a month earlier.

Florida’s unemployment rate in April was the highest in more than two years as it inched up for a second consecutive month.

The state Department of Commerce on Friday released a report that estimated a 3.3 percent jobless rate, representing 361,000 Floridians qualified as unemployed in mid-April. The number of unemployed people was up by 8,000 from March. Meanwhile, the labor force totaled 11.095 million in April, down 2,000 people from a month earlier.

Jimmy Heckman, the department’s chief of workforce statistics and economic research, said the report shows “really strong job growth” for the month and that unemployment in the state remains “very low by historical standards.” The national rate was 3.9 percent in April, up from 3.8 percent in March.

“We're still six-tenths of a percent lower than the national rate, which is also very low by historical standards,” Heckman told reporters in a conference call Friday.

Heckman added that the state remains “very favorable” for job seekers, as private-sector employment increased by 42,600 in April and the number of job openings remained larger than the number of people out of work.

“So as long as that's true, I think, yeah, there's not really a concern with a minor increase this month," Heckman said.

Florida’s jobless rate was 3.2 percent in March after three consecutive months at 3.1 percent. The state’s lowest unemployment rate was 2.4 percent in the spring of 2006.

As the latest figures were released, Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a social-media post that U.S. News & World Report recently ranked Florida as No. 1 in education and the economy.

The national unemployment rate, while higher than Florida’s rate, has been under 4 percent since January 2022.

Florida and Maryland were the only states that saw increased unemployment rates in April, both up 0.1 percentage point.

In April 2023, Florida had a 2.7 percent unemployment rate. The new report showed that the labor force grew by 148,000 people year over year, while the number of people qualified as unemployed was up by 61,000.

The last time the rate was at 3.3 percent was in February 2022, when the state was coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic and an estimated 348,000 Floridians were out of work from a labor force of 10.471 million.

The new report showed relatively small upticks in employment in most fields, with construction adding 400 jobs in April, manufacturing up 2,300, a category of education and health services adding 6,300 and leisure and hospitality tacking on 9,200.

Across Florida, the lowest unemployment rates continued to be posted in South Florida, with the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metropolitan area at 2.7 percent, unchanged from March. The Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island and Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin areas were at 2.9 percent.

The highest rate was in the Homosassa Springs area at 4.9 percent. The next-highest areas were The Villages, at 4.7 percent, and Sebring, 4.6 percent.

The statewide rate is seasonally adjusted, while the metro rates are not adjusted.