The Sunshine State remains a full percentage point lower than national unemployment numbers, a 2.6% unemployment rate compared with 3.6%, and job growth also remains strong.
Some companies now face the problem of finding employees.
Florida released June’s data on Friday, and the Gainesville area sits above state numbers with a 3.2% unemployment rate, or 4,948 people. From May to June, the Gainesville area added nearly 700 people to the labor force with a 63-person decrease in employed persons.
FloridaCommerce announced that Florida has the lowest unemployment of the top 10 most populous states. In the last year, Florida has added 319,500 jobs while keeping the unemployment rate even.
J. Alex Kelly, Florida Secretary of Commerce, praised the governor’s investments in the workforce in addition to his “Framework for Freedom” policies in a Friday press release.
“Floridians are confident in the success of our economy and continuing to enter the workforce as our state sees consistent labor force growth,” Kelly said.
Despite low unemployment figures, staffing shortages continue to have impacts.
The School Board of Alachua County has started a full advertising campaign to fill 83 teaching vacancies before school begins on Aug. 10. And despite drawing in more than 600 officers from other states, local law enforcement continues to work with vacancies and overtime.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports 1.9 million fewer Americans working today compared with February 2020. Those workers left the labor force and haven’t returned to search for jobs.
Stephanie Ferguson, director of global employment policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, points to some of the reasons: early retirements, lack of access to childcare, increase in savings and low net international migration.
According to the Chamber, nearly 20% of workers who lost their job during the pandemic have changed their livelihood, retiring, becoming a homemaker or working part-time.
“We have a lot of jobs, but not enough workers to fill them,” Ferguson said in a statement. “If every unemployed person in the country found a job, we would still have around 4 million open jobs.”
So, while unemployment remains low in Florida, businesses are still looking for people.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity estimates the number of open jobs in Alachua County at 9,750 based on online advertising posts.