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Unemployment: a whopping 11.8 %

From an Agency for Workforce Innovation press release:

Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December 2009 is 11.8 percent.  This represents 1,087,000 jobless out of a labor force of 9,180,000.  The unemployment rate is up 0.3 percentage point from the November rate of 11.5 percent, and up 4.2 percentage points from the December 2008 rate.  The state’s current unemployment rate is 1.8 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate of 10.0 percent.  December’s unemployment rate is the highest since May 1975 when it was 11.9 percent.

Florida’s total nonagricultural employment in December 2009 is 7,343,700, representing a job loss of 232,400, or -3.1 percent, compared to December 2008.  Florida’s rate of job decline is the same as the national rate of decline for December which is also -3.1 percent over the year.  The December 2009 job loss continues the trend of annual declines that began in August 2007.  Florida’s rate of job decline has moderated over the last few months, moving from -5.4 percent in March 2009 to -3.1 percent in December 2009. 

Industries losing the most jobs are construction; trade, transportation, and utilities; and professional and business services.  These three industries account for approximately two-thirds of the job losses in the state.  Health care has been Florida’s only growth sector for most of 2009. 

“Under the leadership of Governor Crist, we are continually pursuing opportunities to bring more workforce development funds to Florida," said AWI Director Cynthia R. Lorenzo.  “We recently launched the Florida Back to Work program and announced more than $7 million in grants to identify and retrain Floridians for green jobs.  Innovative strategies like these strengthen our communities while creating much needed jobs and helping Floridians rejoin the workforce.”