Unemployment in Florida 9.4%;
Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February 2009 is 9.4 percent. This represents 874,000 jobless out of a labor force of 9,252,000. The unemployment rate is 0.6 percentage point higher than the revised January rate of 8.8 percent and is up 4.2 percentage points from the February 2008 rate.
The state’s current unemployment rate is 1.3 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate of 8.1 percent. Florida’s February 2009 unemployment rate is the highest since April 1976, when the rate was also 9.4 percent. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Florida (using the current methodology) peaked at 9.7 percent in January, February, and March of 1976. A different methodology was used to calculate unemployment rates prior to 1976; during that time, the rate reached a high of 11.9 percent in May 1975. Florida’s total nonagricultural employment in February 2009 is 7,503,400, representing a job loss of 399,400, or -5.1 percent compared to February 2008.
This is slower than the national rate for February which is -3.0 percent. The February 2009 rate of job loss continues the trend of over-the-year declines that began in August 2007 primarily due to declines in construction jobs.
“The unemployment numbers released today confirm that Florida’s economy mirrors the national economic situation and people are hurting. We know it’s tough for Florida’s families and that’s why we’re committed to using over $2.4 billion of federal dollars to assist Floridians in need of unemployment compensation,” said Rep. Adam Hasner, R-Delray Beach, Florida House Majority Leader. “The last thing we want to do in this situation is to make matters worse and cost Floridians more jobs. The strings attached by the Obama Administration to the $444 million in additional unemployment stimulus funding will require that we change Florida law permanently. Those changes will potentially have long term negative consequences including higher taxes on Floridians and additional job losses. The unemployment stimulus money that some suggest we take is only a temporary measure and will run out in two months and will leave an even bigger deficit that will need to be filled by Florida taxpayers.”
“As we have said all along, we will continue to approach the matter thoughtfully. We do not want to rush into making decisions which will cost Floridians jobs because of the conditions placed on these funds. These federal dollars are not a silver bullet to solving Florida’s budget problems. The key is to strengthen Florida’s economy and generate jobs.”
To help reinvigorate Florida’s economy, Governor Charlie Crist recently announced the infusion of $165 million in federal economic stimulus funds to directly benefit both job seekers and businesses, said Agency Interim Director Cynthia Lorenzo.
“These funds will provide critically-needed training and job placement services including summer employment opportunities for young people and assistance for Floridians at One-Stop Career Centers around the state,” she added.
Additionally, the Agency has available nearly $1.4 billion in federal stimulus funds for Florida’s unemployment compensation program including benefits for unemployment compensation recipients. The Agency began mailing and electronically depositing an additional $25 weekly in federal stimulus funds for qualified unemployment compensation recipients last week. Information on the $165 million in federal workforce stimulus funds can be found here: http://www.flgov.com/release/10616, and information on the additional $25 weekly federal unemployment compensation payments can be found here: http://www.flgov.com/release/10620. For more information about Florida’s use of the federal recovery dollars made available through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, please visit www.FlaRecovery.com.
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