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DEO economist sees 'positive sign' as more people join labor force

Credit: DEO
Credit: DEO

Florida's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate ticked up ever so slightly last month to 4.8%, but that doesn't mean the state's recovery has stalled.

The number of jobs and the number of people looking for work are both increasing.

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Chief Economist Adrienne Johnston sees a "positive sign" in a jobless rate increase paired with a growing labor force.

"It likely means that people are positive about employment opportunities and are therefore entering the job market by searching for work," she said on call with reporters Friday.

The help-wanted ads posted online each month have increased dramatically. And so far, Florida has gained back more than half the 1.3 million jobs lost at the start of the pandemic.

In April, the Orlando metro area added 6,700 jobs, the biggest increase in the state.

As for Central Florida counties, Osceola has the highest unemployment rate, at 6.7%, followed by Sumter at 6.2%.

Brevard County has the lowest, at 4.5%.

Joe Byrnes came to Central Florida Public Media from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.