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Florida Unemployment Rate Continues Downward; Some Question If Trend Will Last

Construction workers
University of Salford Press Office's photostream

Florida’s unemployment rate has dropped by a tenth of a percent since October. But some question if the downward trend in the unemployment rate will continue.

At 6 percent, unemployment is the lowest it’s been since June of 2008. Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Director Jesse Panuccio says he thinks the state’s economic policies are encouraging business owners to open up more jobs. 

“In terms of government’s role, it’s really the private sector that adds these jobs and grows them," Panuccio says. "But in order for them to want to take the risk and put their money and talent and time on the line we have to have policies that are low-tax and support growth, and that’s what we’ve been trying to do in Tallahassee for the last few years.”

But University of Florida economist Chris McCarty says the drop is largely due to a healthier housing industry and more construction opportunities. And McCarty wonders just how long housing growth will last.

"In the current environment, I think we’re doing fine," McCarty says. "The question remains what the Federal Reserve is going to do in terms of short-term interest rates and how those are going to translate into mortgage rates and how that might affect the growth we’ve had in the housing industry.”

McCarty says he expects the unemployment rate to stay low during the upcoming holiday season, when there will be a spike in retail positions.

Donald DeBevoise is originally from Winter Park, Florida and now studies English and economics at Florida State University. He is a member of the Society for Collegiate Journalists at FSU. Donald also writes for a student-based magazine called The Last Word. He aspires to enter the journalism field upon graduating. In his spare time he enjoys reading, writing, hiking and jogging.