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Rising unemployment could signal a slowing recovery in Florida




FLORIDA Florida’s unemployment rate rose 0.3% in September, the state reported on Friday, raising the rate to 7.6% on the eve of an election where the economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis plays out a leading role.

The unemployment rate had approached 14% at the height of the epidemic last spring, with 2.5 million Floridians applying for unemployment benefits between March and June. When companies began to rehire in late spring and early summer, the rate fell, dropping four percentage points between July and August.

But Friday’s data indicates the recovery may slow at a time when unemployment remains stubbornly high by historical standards. More than three quarters of a million Floridians are currently out of work.

Republican political strategists were hoping to see a further drop in the unemployment rate announced on Friday, the last time the state will release employment data ahead of the November 7 presidential election. The outcome of the Florida swing state contest could determine the next White House occupant.

Democrats, meanwhile, are sure to cite the data as proof that until the virus is more aggressively controlled, a robust economic resurgence is out of the question.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s chief labor economist took a more nuanced view.

“I would like to caution against reading too much of the changes over the month like this in terms of rankings. It is better, somehow, to give some time and watch and see if this trend continues for a while. time, ”said Adrienne Johnston, chief of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Economic Research at WD.

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