Gadsden jobless rate creeping up

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By Pat Faherty

In terms of unemployment, Gadsden County is seeing a near repeat of last year.
Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in January 2011 is 11.9 percent,
down slightly from the December 2010 rate of 12.0 percent. This represents 1,100,000 jobless out of a labor force of 9,276,000.
For Gadsden County that translates to a January 2011 jobless rate of 11.2 percent, up from 11 percent in December 2010 and  11.1 percent in January 2010.
For January 2011, Gadsden County had an estimated 21,275 people in the labor force – those employed or actively seeking work – with 2,388 people unemployed.
At 11.2 percent Gadsden County ranks 41st in the state while Leon County with an unemployment rate of 8.8 percent comes in at number 63.
According to state figures. Fifty-two of Florida’s 67 counties have jobless rates of 10 percent or higher.
The overall unemployment rate for the local  WORKFORCE plus region—Gadsden, Wakulla and Leon counties -- is 9.0 percent.
Florida’s total nonagricultural employment in January 2011 is 7,164,700, a decline of 12,900 jobs (-0.2 percent) from December 2010. Over the year, jobs are up by 8,400, an increase of 0.1 percent from January 2010.
“While Florida’s unemployment rate is still unacceptably high, we are seeing positive signs that employers are starting to hire,” said Agency for Workforce Innovation Director Cynthia R. Lorenzo. “An increase in online advertisements for full-time jobs coupled with an increase in Florida’s Consumer Confidence Index indicates that our business owners and families are increasingly optimistic about Florida’s economic recovery. As Gov. Scott moves forward with his bold probusiness agenda, that optimism will continue.”
Florida’s Consumer Confidence Index for February remained steady at 77 as reported by the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research, unchanged from the January rate and maintaining the significant improvement over the past three years. More Floridians now feel it is a good time to buy big-ticket items, and Floridians’ perceptions of the U.S. economy over the next year also improved slightly. Factors contributing to Floridians’ confidence include an upward trend in
the stock market, a steady increase in wages and several companies announcing intentions to hire more employees.
 The percentage of online ads for full-time jobs compiled by the Help Wanted OnLine data series from The Conference Board increased from 67 percent of total ads in September 2010 - when the full-time job postings began to increase - to 71 percent in February 2011. Florida had an over-the-year increase of 27,825 job postings compared to February 2010. Major occupational groups with the most online ads in February were sales and related occupations; healthcare practitioners and technical occupations; office and administrative support occupations; and management occupations