TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The latest Florida workforce data from the Department of Economic Opportunity shows that from July to August of 2021, unemployment dropped 0.1%, 2.9% less than the year before.

Of Florida’s 10.5 million person labor force, 529,000 are jobless, according to the report. Still, Florida’s unemployment rate is lower than the national, coming in at 5.0% compared to the United States rate of 5.2%.

Florida’s data report for August showed that the number of jobs in the state rose by 15,500 over the past month, a 0.2% increase. Compared to last year, the state had 377,700 more jobs, showing a higher growth rate than the national with Florida jobs increasing by 4.5% versus the national growth of 4.3%.

“The August 2021 total nonagricultural employment has not reached the pre-pandemic levels in February 2020,” according to the DEO.

Looking at the state’s job numbers in early 2020, DEO said Florida lost 1.26 million jobs from February to April 2020 as the pandemic began.

Since then, the DEO report said there have been 974,300 jobs regained. Of the state’s 10 major industries, nine saw positive over-the-year growth in August, with 8,777,200 jobs available.

Collectively, the latest report shows 370,200 jobs have been added across the leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, education and health services, trade, transportation and utilities, other services, financial activities, construction, information, and manufacturing industries.

IndustryNumber of Jobs Gained/LostPercent Change
Leisure and Hospitality+137,700+14.6%
Professional and Business Services+58,300+4.3%
Education and Health Services+46,500+3.6%
Trade, Transportation, and Utilities+44,300+2.5%
Other Services+32,900+10.5%
Financial Activities+30,700+5.2%
Total Government-2,600-0.2%
(Source: Florida Dept. of Economic Opportunity)

The only major industry to have lost jobs was “total government,” which lost 2,600 jobs, a 0.2% loss.

Not seasonally adjusted, the counties with the highest and lowest unemployment rates were spread out geographically.

The counties with the highest unemployment rates in the state were Hendry County with 7.4%, Miami-Dade County with 6.7%, Highlands and Putnam counties tied at 6.5% each and Sumter County coming in at 6.4%. The counties with the lowest unemployment rate were Monroe County at 3%, St. Johns (3.4%), Okaloosa County (3.7%) and Nassau and Wakulla counties with 3.8% unemployment each.

Still, the report showed that all 24 of Florida’s metro areas had job gains over-the-year.

“The areas with the largest gains were Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (+74,000 jobs, +6.4 percent), Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall (+68,000 jobs, +6.2 percent), Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater (+67,600 jobs, +5.1 percent), and West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Delray Beach (+36,100 jobs, +6.1 percent),” according to the latest DEO report.

As the state showed total government jobs decreasing, it does report that federal government jobs increased from July to August. There are now 148,000 federal government workers in Florida, compared to the 147,400 of July, according to the report.

This means that, should President Joe Biden’s vaccination order be fully in effect, 148,000 Floridians would need to be vaccinated by November. Gov. DeSantis and other state officials have already promised to contest the order and Attorney General Ashley Moody has issued a legal challenge alongside 23 other states.

State and local government jobs both saw job losses, with state government jobs dropping to 236,200 versus the previous month’s 238,200 and local government jobs decreasing to 707,100 from 709,600. While the jobs have decreased month-to-month, there are more local government jobs available this year compared to August 2020, when there were only 684,500 jobs.

State and federal government jobs were still lower than the previous August.

Preliminary numbers show that Tampa Bay counties are split between higher and lower unemployment rates than the national and state numbers.

Note: Preliminary numbers show somewhat different rates than the seasonally adjusted numbers.

LocationUnemployment Rate
Highlands County6.5%
Citrus County6.3%
Hardee County6.0%
Hernando County5.6%
Polk County5.6%
United States5.3%
Pasco County4.7%
Hillsborough County4.4%
Manatee County4.4%
Sarasota County4.3%
Pinellas County4.2%
(Source: Florida Dept. of Economic Opportunity, preliminary numbers)

Across Florida, the number of total nonagricultural jobs increased and are higher than the amount that were available in August 2020.

>> Follow Sam Sachs on Facebook
>> Follow Sam Sachs on Twitter