An August employment uptick snapped a three-month string of jobless increases in Lee and Charlotte counties.
The latest Florida Department of Economic Opportunity report released Friday, Sept. 21, showed Lee County jobless rates improve from 9.8 percent in July to 9.5 percent in August, Charlotte County hold steady at 9.3 percent for a second straight month and Sarasota unemployment slip back under 9 percent in July to 8.9 percent in August.
But the numbers are not all positive. Lee County unemployment improved because its labor force shrank not because it added jobs.
Lee County lost 2,261 jobs from July to August. Its labor force contracted by 3,472 to 277,472 in August from 280,899 in July.
Lee County unemployment hit its low point for the year at 8.8 percent in May. Its August jobless rate is a full 2 percentage points under the 11.5 percent rate in August 2011.
Florida's unemployment rate held steady at 8.8 percent in August. The August 2012 rate was 1.7 percentage points lower than the year-ago rate of 10.5 percent.
Florida economic scorecard
Unemployment rate down over the year 21 consecutive months
Florida unemployment rate declined or held steady 13 of the last 14 months
Florida job growth month-to-month has been positive 11 of the last 14 months
Florida posted positive annual job growth 25 consecutive months
Housing starts up over the year in July by 33.7 percent
Median home prices up 7.8 percent over the year.
Initial claims for re-employment assistance benefits down by 35 percent from one year ago
Continued claims down 41 percent from an average of 553,000 in December 2010 to 311,000 in August 2012
Florida has gained 153,000 private sector jobs since December 2010.
"The month of August showed that 28,000 more Floridians found employment in the private sector and are able to provide for their families," said Gov. Rick Scott in his monthly press release. "Employers are aware of the talented and skilled work force we have here, and the August numbers prove that the economic climate in Florida is one that encourages job creation and economic development."
Florida's job growth rate has been positive or flat for 25 months in a row after losing jobs for three straight years.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity reported the state unemployment rate increased from a low of 8.6 in June - the lowest since December 2008 - to 8.8 percent in July and August. The August state rate is 1.7 percentage points lower than the August 2011 rate of 10.5 percent.
The national rate bumped slipped to 8.1 percent in August from 8.3 percent in July. It stood at 9.1 percent in August 2011.
"Florida's job creation and overall economic development numbers continue heading in the right direction," said Hunting Deutsch, Department of Economic Opportunity executive director.