Area's Unemployment Rate Inches Higher in May; Graduates Flooding Job Market Play a Part in Numbers Increasing

By Basch, Mark | The Florida Times Union, June 17, 2006 | Go to article overview

Area's Unemployment Rate Inches Higher in May; Graduates Flooding Job Market Play a Part in Numbers Increasing


Basch, Mark, The Florida Times Union


Byline: MARK BASCH

Jacksonville's unemployment rate edged higher last month, as graduating students looking for work increased the labor force.

The unemployment rate for the Jacksonville metropolitan area -- consisting of Duval, Baker, Clay, Nassau and St. Johns counties -- rose from 2.8 percent in April to 3 percent in May, the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation reported Friday. The April rate was the lowest since December 1999 and was close to the area's record low of 2.7 percent in December 1998.

The state labor agency doesn't adjust the Jacksonville data for seasonal factors, such as the annual influx of students entering the labor market. But the University of North Florida's Local Economic Indicators Project said that when seasonally-adjusted, Jacksonville's jobless rate did rise from 2.85 percent in April to 3.06 percent in May.

Despite the May increase in unemployment, UNF economist Paul Mason said the data shows the local labor market is still strong.

"It's normal for it to go up as you approach the summer," he said.

The labor agency reported that Jacksonville added 21,400 jobs to employer payrolls from May 2005 through May 2006, a 3.5 percent growth rate.

The outlook for job growth continues to be strong, according to employment agency Manpower Inc. In fact, Manpower said that its quarterly national survey showed Jacksonville has one of the strongest job outlooks in the country, with 53 percent of companies surveyed planning to hire more workers this summer and no companies planning reductions. …

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