Worst to first: Florida sees nation’s best jump in job growth
By Lloyd Dunkelberger / News Service of Florida
TALLAHASSEE — Florida moved from worst to first in a new federal survey of job creation released Wednesday.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Florida had a net gain of 214,372 private-sector jobs in the last three months of 2017. It was the largest net gain of jobs by any state, according to the federal data.
It also stood in contrast to the federal agency’s last quarterly report on “business employment dynamics,” which showed Florida leading the nation in net private-sector job losses in the third quarter of 2017, with a decline of about 134,000 jobs.
Economists and state officials attributed Florida’ job losses during the third quarter to the impact of Hurricane Irma, which struck the state in September. They predicted Florida’s job growth would likely rebound, which was verified in the new report.
The survey measures net job creation over a three-month period by comparing businesses that expand or open against businesses that contract or close.
The new report underscored the nature of Florida’s post-hurricane recovery, with the 214,372 net jobs created being the state’s largest quarterly total based on the federal agency’s data dating to 1992.
The state’s 601,026 new jobs in the fourth quarter of 2017 was also a high, according to the federal labor statistics. The quarterly job creation was offset by the loss of 386,654 jobs during that period, the data showed.
Florida’s job growth at the end of last year was in line with the nation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a net gain of nearly 1 million private-sector jobs across the country in the fourth quarter of 2017.
That compared to an earlier report that showed for the first time since 2010 more jobs were lost in the third quarter of 2017 than were created, with a net loss of some 140,000 jobs.
The new report showed 49 states gaining private-sector jobs in the last quarter of 2017. The third-quarter report showed Florida and 26 other states losing jobs.
Florida, the nation’s third-largest state, also compared well with its big-state rivals in the new survey.
Only California, with the creation of more than 1 million private-sector jobs, outpaced Florida. But the nation’s largest state lagged Florida in net job gains for the quarter, with 134,282, according to the federal data.
Texas created over 641,000 jobs in the fourth quarter of 2017, with a net gain of 103,721 jobs. New York had a net gain of more than 26,000 jobs, based on a total of 483,363 new jobs.
Alaska was the only state with a net job loss in the fourth quarter of 2017, losing slightly more than 2,000 private-sector jobs, according to the federal data.