83,000 Floridians rejoined labor force in June
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) - Florida’s unemployment rate was up a tenth of a percent in June and now sits at 5.0%, which is still below the national average of 5.9%.
While the unemployment rate may be up, state economists see it as a positive sign signaling more Floridians are returning to the labor market in search of jobs.
Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Chief Economist Adrienne Johnston says the state’s economic recovery continued in June with the labor force rising by 83,000.
“People are both adding jobs and then connecting to them,” said Johnston.
The state has recovered seven out of 10 jobs lost during the pandemic and a new WalletHub survey ranked Florida’s workforce recovery the third fastest in the nation.
“We are continuing to see an increase in online job ads, which is an indicator that businesses are growing,” said Johnston.
State economists said the June numbers don’t reveal the impact of the governor’s decision to end federal unemployment benefits early.
On the ground, Geoff Luebkemann with the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association says businesses are seeing some positive signs.
“They are seeing some green shoots, encouragement in application numbers,” said Luebkemann.
The biggest winner for the month of June was by far leisure and hospitality, which added 41,500 new jobs.
“We’re cautiously optimistic,” said Luebkemann.
Florida has experienced a steady rise in COVID cases over the past three weeks.
It’s too early to tell how that might impact the state’s economic gains.
“It will all be dependent on how people respond,” said Johnston.
While Luebkemann said the case numbers are a concern, it hasn’t made a significant impact yet.
“The vaccine has been immensely helpful both on the employee side and on the patron side,” said Luebkemann.
While the unemployment rate for June was up slightly, it was still six percentage points lower than the same month last year.
Florida’s total labor force sits at nearly 10.4 million.
523,000 of those workers remain unemployed.
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