ORLANDO — The U.S. Department of Labor reported today that the nation added 321,000 jobs in November, the largest increase since January 2012, and the unemployment rate remained steady at 5 5.8 percent.
The report was released just one day after Gov. Rick Scott reported that the number of online job openings in Florida had just reached an all-time high in November. Data released by the state’s Conference Board’s Help Wanted Online showed a total of 279,394 job openings, in the same month that Florida’s consumer sentiment increased to 86, up two points from October. It also marked the highest ranking in Florida since March 2007 — nearly a year before the state’s housing market crashed and the national recession set in.
Both the national unemployment rate and the increase in job postings indicate that heading into 2015, the state and national economy may pick up steam at an accelerated pace.
That’s likely to be very good news for Florida, which was one of the hardest hit states in the nation when the recession hit in the fall of 2008. Florida’s unemployment rate soared from 3 percent when the housing market was booming to double-digits, the state’s housing market tanked, and Florida ended up with one of the worst home foreclosure rates in the country.
However, it’s also been said that when the national economy has a cold, Florida gets phenomena, but when the national economy is strong, Florida is booming.
Gov. Scott, for one, predicted that the national recovery would position Florida to become a leader in job growth and economic diversity nationally in the coming years.
“Florida is positioned to become the global leader in business, and we are laser-focused on creating opportunities for Floridians to get jobs and provide for their families,” Scott said. “November was another great month for Florida’s growing economy, with an all-time high of online job openings and consumer sentiment at the highest level since 2007. In just under four years, Florida has added almost 680,000 private sector jobs and our unemployment rate is down to 6 percent.”
The Labor Department also reported that 44,000 more jobs were created nationally in September and October than previously estimated, while average hourly wages went up as well. Economists had been predicting gains of about 220,000 jobs in November.
Just as the pace of job growth exceeded expectations nationally, November’s online job ads in Florida reached an all-time high, the state noted, in the data series that dates back to May 2005.
“Job demand in Florida increased over the month by 10,941 openings — up 4.1 percent –and also increased over the year by 15,435 openings, up 5.8 percent,” the governor’s office noted in a news release.
There was particularly strong demand in several fields, including sales, healthcare, technical occupations, office and administrative support, and positions requiring computer and mathematical skills. Online job demand, the state noted, was highest in the large cities, including Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, and Fort Lauderdale.
“Job demand and consumer sentiment are now at their highest since the current economic recovery began,” said the executive director of the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity, Jesse Panuccio said. “The positive indicators reflect an improving economy.”
Panuccio noted that consumer sentiment and online job demand are economic indicators that hint where the state’s economy is headed.
The Florida Consumer Sentiment Index is calculated by the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida.
It measures five key indicators of consumers’ feelings about the economy, including an individual’s personal financial situation now compared to a year ago, personal financial situation expected one year from now, expected national economic conditions over the next year, expected national economic conditions over the next five year, and whether it is a good time to buy major household items.
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