Area jobless rate drops to 5.4 percent

Photo: The Gainesville Sun

Photo: The Gainesville Sun

By Anthony Clark | The Gainesville Sun

The jobs that went away over the summer are back as the unemployment rate in the Gainesville area dropped back below 6 percent in August, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity reported Friday.

The jobless rate was 5.4 percent in August, down from 6.0 percent in both June and July. The rate was 5.3 percent in May.

The Florida rate dipped to 7.0 percent — the lowest since September 2008 — after being stuck at 7.1 percent for three straight months, while the U.S. rate dropped from 7.4 percent to 7.3 percent.

In the Gainesville Metropolitan Statistical Area — consisting of Alachua and Gilchrist counties — the 5.4 percent rate represented 7,739 jobless out of a labor force of 142,325, compared with 8,593 jobless in July, according to household surveys. The unemployment rate was 6.9 percent in August 2012.

An employer survey showed 3,700 more jobs for growth of 1.6 percent over the year, equal to the U.S. job growth rate.

Florida saw job growth of 1.8 percent over the year, but a dip of 0.1 percent — or 4,700 fewer jobs — from July to August despite the lower unemployment rate, reflecting a shrinking labor pool as discouraged workers stop looking for work or return to school.

In Gainesville, education and health services led the way with 1,300 more jobs over the year, followed by 1,100 in both retail trade and leisure/hospitality. The only losses were in federal and local government jobs.

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Virginia MacKoul

Virginia is a graduate from the University of Florida's College of Design Construction and Planning with a degree in Sustainability and the Built Environment, and a minor in Urban Regional Planning. Virginia joined the Front Street team in 2011, as an intern. Upon graduation, Virginia joined the Front Street team full-time as the Director of Client Services. Ms. MacKoul’s addition furthers Front Street’s continued growth and expansion within Gainesville and other North Central Florida markets. She was promoted to Director of Marketing in 2014 and now manages the firm’s team of interns and oversees all marketing and branding activity. Virginia was born in Boston and moved to Lee County, Florida in 1997. Virginia graduated her high school's International Baccalaureate program and started at the University of Florida with a focus on Architecture. Virginia shares Front Street's passion of giving back to the community and those in need. Virginia's hobbies include photography, cooking, football, movies, music, and spending time with her dog, Brinkley.

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