MANATEE — Unemployment in Manatee and Sarasota fell considerably in October as the hospitality industry ramped up for tourism season and retailers began expanding staff for the holidays.
The seasonal boost pushed the two-county’s combined jobless rate down to 8.3 percent last month, a drop from the 8.9 percent in September and 10.5 percent from the same time a year ago, according to data released Friday by the state labor department.
Manatee County saw a 0.8 percentage-point improvement in its unemployment picture over the month, with a 8.2 percent mark in October. At this time last year, Manatee’s jobless rate was 10.4 percent.
In Sarasota, October’s 8.3 percent unemployment rate was down from 8.7 percent the month prior and 10.5 percent from October 2011, records show.
Despite the progress, 25,245 laborers remain out of work between the two counties.
Unlike state and nation numbers, local jobless data is not adjusted for seasonal swings in industries like tourism and agriculture, which begin inflating as the temperature drops.
Across the Sunshine State, Florida added 12,100 new private sector jobs in October to help the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decline to 8.5 percent — the lowest since December 2008. The state rate was 1.7 percentage points lower than a year ago.
Florida’s unemployment rate has now declined from the previous year for 23 consecutive months.
“In October, 12,100 more Floridians found employment in the private sector and the incomes that allow them to provide for their families, particularly with the holidays approaching,” Gov. Rick Scott said in a statement. “We are creating an environment that fosters job creation, economic development and provides a skilled workforce. My No. 1 goal is to create jobs for Florida families and get this state back to work. There is still more that needs to be done, but I’m confident we’re on the right path.”
For more on this story, pick up a copy of Saturday’s Bradenton Herald or check Bradenton.com later for updates.
Josh Salman, Herald business writer, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter @JoshSalman