September brought a second-straight month of unemployment declines as Lee and Charlotte counties took part in a statewide phenomenon.
Florida job postings increased by 35,277 in September compared with the previous September - an increase of 15.1 percent - for a total of 268,575 openings (seasonally adjusted).
The latest Florida Department of Economic Opportunity report released Friday, Oct. 19, showed Lee County jobless rates improve from 9.5 percent in August to 9.1 percent in September. Lee County unemployment has improved 7/10ths of a percentage point in just the past two months.
Charlotte County September unemployment dipped to 9 percent from 9.3 percent in August and Sarasota County unemployment fell to 8.7 percent in September from 8.9 percent in August.
Lee County added 3,569 jobs from August to September. Its labor force expanded by 2,734 to 280,546 in September from 277,812 in August.
Lee County unemployment hit its low point for the year at 8.8 percent in May. Its September jobless rate is 2.2 percentage points under the 11.3 percent rate in September 2011.
Florida economic scorecard
Florida annual job growth positive 26 consecutive months
Florida expected to create more than 900,000 new jobs by 2018, according to Florida Economic Estimating Conference.
Unemployment rate down year-over-year 21 consecutive months
Florida job growth month-to-month has been positive 12 of the last 15 months
The number of available online job openings in STEM-related fields in Florida is up sharply over the previous year, with more than 64,000 postings in September. Over-the-year job postings are up almost 9 percent compared with September 2011.
More people are moving into Florida. Net migration is up an estimated 134,500 in 2012 almost doubling 2011 in-migration of 68,000.
Florida is running a trade surplus of over $24 billion with $86.8 billion in exports and $62.4 billion in imports in 2011, up from $73.1 billion in exports in 2010 and $53.2 billion in imports in 2010.
Tourism is up in Florida in 2012 to an estimated 89 million visitors from 82 million in 2010.
Florida's unemployment rate declined to 8.7 percent in September with 3,500 new private sector jobs created. The September rate was 1.7 percentage points lower than the year-ago rate of 10.4 percent.
Since December 2010, the state unemployment rate has dropped 2.4 percentage points and 156,800 private sector jobs have been created. Florida also saw a decrease in government jobs with a decline of 2,700 over the month.
"In September, we saw continued private sector job growth and an increase in the number of available job openings around the state, which means that more employers are hiring and utilizing the skills and talents of thousands of Floridians," said Gov. Rick Scott in his monthly press release. "These numbers today tell us two things - we still have more work to do to grow our economy, and we are heading in the right direction."
Florida's unemployment rate has now declined 22 consecutive months year-over-year.
Initial claims for Reemployment Assistance benefits were down 16.8 percent from one year ago while continued claims were down 45 percent from an average of 553,000 in December 2010 to 300,817 in September.
"Florida's work force and re-employment efforts continue to see success across the state, including increases in the number of job placements and online postings as well as decreases in the number of Reemployment Assistance claims," said Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Hunting Deutsch.