The same day that efforts to fix Florida’s unemployment extension statute failed, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released June’s unemployment numbers. The news was good for the 19 states that recorded “statistically significant jobless rate decreases,” including New Hampshire and oft-troubled Michigan, whose huge losses in auto manufacturing didn’t bode well for the state’s economic climate.
The news for Florida, as well as the 30 remaining states in the country, wasn’t necessarily bad but was relatively unchanged. According to the report, “[these states] registered jobless rates that were not measurably different from those of a month earlier, though some had changes that were at least as large numerically as the significant change.”
Florida’s “statistically significant change” was a slight drop from 11.7 percent unemployment to 11.4. Still, more than 1 million Floridians remained jobless last month. Though the numbers are down, the same report shows that there is still a ways to go before unemployment can be reduced drastically: At this time last year, the state had a 10.5 percent unemployment rate.
In the midst of an environmental disaster that will likely further hinder the state’s economy, there is a glimmer of hope. According to Florida’s Agency for Workforce Innovation, at least some of the unemployment numbers have been offset by the recent gulf oil spill: BP is hiring somewhere between 5,000 and 6,000 workers a day to help with cleanup efforts in the panhandle.
At press time, Gov. Crist’s Florida Gulf Recovery Jobs site showed 187 open positions. Florida was awarded two significant job grants last month — one a $7 million National Emergency Grant to aid those who have become unemployed as a result of the oil spill, and the other a $3.46 million on-the-job-training grant to “help employers in new and emerging industries access job training for workers and create employment opportunities.”
Specifics regarding Florida unemployment can be found on the Agency for Workforce Innovation’s website.