County jobless rate falls further

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County’s October unemployment was 7.7 percent, down from 8.0 percent a month earlier.

Out of a labor force of 63,505, there were 58,636 employed in October, according to statistics released Friday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.


Career Central volunteer Brittany DeFigueiredo, right, assists Lynne Kilchriss of Timber Pines with her job search. FILE
Hernando County was tied with two other counties for the fourth-highest rate in the entire state. Florida’s jobless rate, not seasonally adjusted, was 5.8 percent in October, down from 6.1 percent.

Dave Hamilton, operations manager with the Pasco-Hernando Workforce Board, said this is the second straight month the rate has declined, and that is a positive trend.

One year ago, Hernando County’s rate was 8.4 percent; in 2012, it was 9.8 percent and in 2011 it was 13.1 percent.

“We are seeing a measurable, tangible improvement,” Hamilton said. “The manufacturing and construction sectors continue to grow, even though nowhere near where it was during the boom, There is a growth in health care (and) retail, which is the service sector.”

As for the state: “Florida’s coming in at 5.8 (percent), which is real close to being healthy again,” Hamilton said.

Gov. Rick Scott said in a press release the latest rates are “great news as we continue our work to ensure that every Floridian who wants a job can get one.

“Since December 2010, Florida has added 679,000 private-sector jobs, and it is clear that we are succeeding in creating an opportunity economy that supports families,” Scott said.

Florida added the most construction jobs of any state (38,900 jobs, 10.2 percent) between October 2013 and October 2014, according to the Associated General Contractors of America.

“As the state’s primary economic indicators continue to improve month after month, Florida is showing the nation that low tax, pro-growth policies make a difference for families,” DEO Executive Director Jesse Panuccio said in a prepared statement.

Hendry County recorded the highest unemployment rate in the state for October at 10.5 percent. Monroe County had the lowest rate at 3.6 percent.

Here are the October unemployment rates for surrounding counties (with the previous month in parentheses):

♦ Citrus County: 7.1 percent (7.3 percent)

♦ Sumter County: 5.2 percent (5.1 percent)

♦ Pasco County: 6.7 percent (6.8 percent)

♦ Hillsborough County: 5.8 percent (6.1 percent)

♦ Pinellas County: 5.7 percent (5.8 percent)

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