County data

State reports drop in unemployment

Pinellas County's unemployment rate for April is down nearly a full percentage point, according to the latest figures from the Florida Agency of Workforce Innovation.

April's rate was 11.5 percent, compared to March when 12.4 percent of the county's labor force was looking for a job.

In April, 51,629 of the county's labor force of 447,989 were looking for a job. In March, 55,693 out of a labor force of 450,195 were unemployed.

Some snowbirds haven't yet flown the coop

Sitting outside his lakefront mobile home, Lake County snowbird Dick Risch relishes the peacefulness around him.

Until recently, Risch's winter community was packed with seasonal residents. But while most part-time residents already have left, unusually chilly temperatures up North kept some snowbirds like Risch, 68, from joining the flock just yet.

For businesses that thrive on the spending of seasonal residents, these snowbird stragglers seeking to stay warm a bit longer are a welcome economic bonus.

Florida unemployment falls for first time in four years

For the first time since February 2006, Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has fallen. April unemployment slipped to 12 percent from March’s revised rate of 12.3 percent.

This represents 1,113,000 jobless out of a labor force of 9,282,000, according to the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation.

Local economy must be improving - just look at the trash pile

The public is hit daily with an almost dizzying array of statistics designed to measure the nation's economic health. Stock market indices, interest and inflation rates, jobless claims, housing starts and sales, consumer spending and fluctuations in the gross domestic product are just a few that are supposed to tell us whether we are better — or worse — off today than yesterday.

But Ken Whitehead, director of Marion County's Solid Waste department, has his own barometer: trash.

Census estimates reveal growth dynamic in Sumter

THE VILLAGES — Third time was the charm for Fritz and Tina Masur.

Little that they experienced as age-restricted homeowners in Arizona or Illinois compares with the quality of life they found during the past year in The Villages.

The experiences of the Village of Hemingway couple also provide a glimpse into the dynamics of new population estimates that ranked Sumter County last year — largely fueled by growth in The Villages — as the state’s second-fastest growing county in terms of percentage increase.

Bay County continues to grow despite recession

PANAMA CITY — Bay County’s population crept up last year despite the worst recession in decades, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released this week.

“The growing population areas are the ones who tend to attract new jobs,” said Janet Watermeier, county Economic Development Alliance executive director. “I believe this is our decade.”

Orlando metro area grew a bit more crowded last year, despite recession

If not for babies and immigrants, Metro Orlando would be shrinking. The latest U.S. Census estimates show that the growth of Orlando's families, together with its continued appeal to people from other countries, narrowly offset the loss of residents who left the state because of the recession.

The four-county metropolitan area grew an anemic 1 percent in 2009, adding 21,198 people. Two-thirds of the increase was the result of having nearly twice as many births than deaths.

Volusia population drops for 2nd consecutive year

Volusia County continued to lose residents in 2009 while Flagler County, though plagued by higher unemployment, continued to grow, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released Tuesday.

Volusia lost an estimated 1,454 residents between 2008 and 2009. That followed a similar loss of 1,425 between 2007 and 2008.

Although the combined losses total less than 1 percent of the county's estimated 2007 population of 498,769, they are a sign of the recession's lingering impact.

1.1 million people unemployed in Florida

TALLAHASSEE — Florida matched its highest-ever unemployment rate in January — 11.9 percent — with 1.1 million Floridians out of work.

Escambia County had 11.7 percent unemployment in January, up 0.6 points from December and 2.6 points higher than the year before. Wednesday's report said 16,456 were out of work in January.

Santa Rosa County had 10.9 percent unemployment in January, 0.9 points from December and 2.8 points higher than the year before. The state reported there were 7,723 out of work in January.

That may not be the worst of it.

Florida expected to start adding residents again after population decline

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — It’s a small bounce, but Florida’s population should rebound this year from its first loss in more than half a century in a hopeful sign for the struggling state economy, new estimates from the University of Florida show.

The Sunshine State is expected to add about 23,000 residents between April 1, 2009, and April 1, 2010, following a loss of almost 57,000 residents the previous year, according to population projections released today by UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

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