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Jobless Rate Hits 11.8 Percent

January 22nd, 2010 by Mike Vasilinda

723-thousand Floridians have lost jobs since the recession began in April 2007.  Florida’s unemployment rate hit 11 point 8 percent in December, and as Mike Vasilinda tells us, new numbers suggest Florida lost more jobs in December than any other state in the country.

After two years, Dora DeVane has had it with looking for a job in Florida.  “I’m applying for jobs in another state”. We asked: Do you think you have a better chance there?  Devane says “I have an interview Monday morning”.

Statistically, there are now 5 point 8 job seekers for every available job. New numbers suggest Florida has 16,400 fewer jobs than it did a month ago, making the state the top job loser in December.

State Labor Economist Rebecca Rust says Florida is losing jobs at the same pace as the nation. ” The number of unemployed is 1, 087,000. So Florida’s unemployment rate is 11.8 percent is higher than the national rate at ten point 0, also released for December”, says Rust.

Almost a quarter million jobs disappeared in 2009. Employers facing five and ten fold
increase in their unemployment taxes to pay claims may be adding to the problem. Richard Harris got laid off in December and can’t find work as an electricians helper. He blames the threat of higher taxes.

“Nobody is doing anything because of this new tax coming out…nobody is hiring today because they don’t know if they gonna have to pay taxes in the end of March” says Harris. “It might even cost some employees”.

The lower the educational level, the more likely someone is to be unemployed. The job loss rate is predicted to top 12 percent in coming months.  State leaders have vowed to delay an increase in unemployment taxes, but nothing is certain. The higher taxes are due March 31st.

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