Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity, on 03/30/2012, released data regarding current State and local levels of unemployment. The numbers are startling. Primarily due to the blatant inconsistencies in the data and the rosy picture the DEO tries to paint into this fuzzy math.
Here is one example: St. Lucie County had 200 more jobs in February, 2012 than in February, 2011; and the unemployment rate dropped from 12.9% to 11.4% over that time, yet “almost 14,000 are still unemployed and actively seeking work.” That’s out of a workforce of 123,000 people.
Another example is in order, but first a quote.
“The DEO report said 10,100 jobs were created in February (2012) in Florida and that is having a positive impact on the state’s unemployment compensation totals, with 346,000 people claiming benefits, compared with the peak of 735,000 in February, 2010.”
The attached DEO table states that Florida unemployment was 9.4% in February, 2012. Using the DEO numbers, unemployment in Florida in February, 2010 should have been 19.97%.
“Rebecca Rust, the DEO’s chief economist, estimated that another 8.4 percent of the state’s workforce falls in the discouraged, underutilized and part-time categories, and that percentage is probably higher in counties with above-average unemployment.”
Hardly consistent is the fact that the number of Floridians applying for food stamps goes up as the unemployment numbers go down. The optimistic spin by the Florida DEO is smoke and mirrors. The untold story is that unemployment numbers go down when people lose the benefit. As 14,000 unemployed in St. Lucie county may attest to, it’s not an optimistic time.