December Unemployment hits 8.1 percent

December Unemployment hits 8.1 percent

TALLAHASSEE – Florida’s unemployment rate hit 8.1 percent in December, the highest since 1992 and higher than the national rate of 7.2 percent.

The numbers mean one in 12 Florida workers – or 752,000 out of a labor force of 9.3 million – are jobless.

The state’s economy has lost more than 255,000 jobs since December of 2007, many of them lost because of a slowdown in the state’s construction industry that began in September of 2007.

The state’s unemployment rate is 0.7 percent higher than the November rate of 7.4 percent and is up 3.6 percentage points from December 2007.

Florida’s December 2008 unemployment rate is the highest since September 1992, when the rate was 8.9 percent.  Prior to that, the jobless rate peaked at 9.7 percent in January, February, and March of 1976.  

“Every day the people of our agency are touching the lives of hundreds of thousands of Floridians seeking assistance in weathering these challenging economic times,” said Monesia T. Brown, Director of the Agency for Workforce Innovation.