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Don’t Look Behind The Curtain

The Miami Herald ran a piece on the latest Florida job numbers:

Broward’s jobless rate went from 8.9 percent to 9.0 percent, according to state figures. Miami-Dade’s unemployment rate returned to a record 13.4 percent, up from 13.1 percent in April.

The figures from the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation are bound to increase worries that the economic rebound that seemed to be gaining steam in early 2011 has now hit some sort of roadblock. But statewide, the trend was more encouraging. Florida’s unemployment rate dropped slightly, from 10.8 percent to 10.6 percent. That is its lowest level since August 2009.

Florida’s labor director touted the May report as a good sign for the Sunshine State, which added 28,000 jobs between April and May and nearly 25,000 compared to a year ago. The yearly gain amounted a tiny portion — far less than 1 percent — of the state’s 7.2 million-person workforce.

“Today’s announcement that unemployment continues to drop and businesses continue to add thousands of jobs shows that Florida’s economy is moving in the right direction,” said Agency for Workforce Innovation Director Cynthia R. Lorenzo. “Our unemployment rate is now the lowest it has been in 21 months, and we can expect our state’s heightened focus on economic recovery to spur additional job growth in the months ahead.”

Excuse me, but if 28,000 jobs were added from April to May, and jobs are only up 25,000 from last year, it means that the entire growth for the year was in that one month, and they were primarily the summer hires, not permanent jobs.

When the ‘body count’ from layoffs of teachers and other public employees begins to get tallied, we are in a world of hurt, and going backwards, not forwards.

As with the Federal reports, many people have exhausted all of their unemployment benefits and have just given up finding a job. Last year was actually inflated by the Census jobs, and the stimulus programs, which are now gone.