Economic report shows most of jobless rate drop due to shrinking workforce

Jul 17, 2012

The following article was published in The Florida Current on July 17, 2012:

Economic Report Shows Most of Jobless Rate Drop Due to Shrinking Work Force

By The Florida Current Staff

An economic overview of the state released Tuesday by the Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research shows that 69 percent of the drop in the unemployment rate since December has come from workers leaving the workforce.

The report, an update of an earlier report was issued this past month, shows that Florida’s jobless rate for May is 8.6 percent, down from the December rate of 9.9 percent. If the size of the workforce held level, however, the unemployment rate would be much higher.

“If the participation rate had held steady since (December) the unemployment rate would have been 9.5 percent — 69 percent of the drop in the unemployment rate is due to people leaving the workforce,” the report states.

That number is a drop from the previous report, when 75 percent of the decline in the unemployment rate through April was accounted for by a shrinking workforce. The report also notes that eight of Florida’s 67 counties have double-digit unemployment rates, down from 52 counties at the peak of the recession.

Still, it will take more than 1 million additional jobs for the unemployment rate to fall to pre-recession levels — more than the 700,000 new jobs promised by Gov. Rick Scott.

Jobless rate figures for June will be released Friday.

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