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Florida’s October Employment Numbers Show Short-Term Job Gains, But All Sectors Down From Last Year

Virus Outbreak
Wilfredo Lee/AP
FILE - In this July 8, 2020, file photo, a "Now Hiring" sign sits outside a Ross Dress for Less store, in North Miami Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity released employment numbers from October Friday.

The state posted a 6.5 percent unemployment rate for October, which is down .7 percent over the prior month.

But, the number of employed Floridians is down 675,000 since the year before, representing a 6.7 percent dip in employment since 2019. That's out of a labor force numbering more than 10.1 million.

The data show seven out of 10 industry sectors in the state starting to bounce back from COVID-19’s catastrophic hit to the economy. But, compared to last year, all industries are still down.

Adrienne Johnston is the agency’s chief economist.

What we’re seeing is a trend of gaining jobs over the month. So, for the last 6 months we’ve added jobs. When you compare us to last year at this time, we are still down over 300,000 jobs compared to October 2019,” Johnston told media on a press call Friday.

The leisure and hospitality industry, one of the hardest hit by coronavirus restrictions, gained nearly 30,000 jobs over the month. The three major Florida industries that lost jobs since September were government, education and health services and the information sector.

Johnston says jobs “gained” in the past 6 months are likely a mix of people being rehired by the same companies, and getting entirely new jobs.

“What you’re looking were the total number of jobs that existed on payroll in one month compared to the month after that, or for the year comparison,” Johnston explained. “So, it could be people coming back onto payroll, since we had several months where the employment declined – but it could also be people coming into new jobs as well.”