The national unemployment rate was 3.6% in February 2023, up 0.2 percentage points from the January 2023 rate and down 0.2 percentage points from 3.8% a year ago. On the other hand, total nonagricultural employment was 155,350,000 in February 2023, with an increase of 311,000 jobs (+0.2%) over the month and 4,340,000 jobs (+2.9%) over the year. Notable job gains occurred in leisure, hospitality, retail trade, government, and health care. Conversely, employment declined in information, transportation, and warehousing.
Unemployment Trends in the U.S. Job Market
In February 2023, the number of people who were unemployed for less than five weeks increased by 343,000 to 2.3 million, offsetting a decrease in the prior month. The number of long-term unemployed, those jobless for 27 weeks or more, at 1.1 million, changed little throughout the month and accounted for 17.6% of the total unemployed. The number of unemployed people who completed temporary jobs increased by 223,000 in February to 2.8 million.
Seven major industries experienced positive growth in February 2023:
- Leisure and hospitality added 105,000 jobs in February, similar to the average monthly gain of 91,000 over the prior six months.
- Retail trade rose by 50,000 in February, reflecting an increase in general merchandise retailers (+39,000).
- Local government employment continued to trend up in February (+37,000). Overall, work in government is below its pre-pandemic February 2020 level by 376,000, or 1.6 percent.
- Employment in professional and business services continued to trend in February (+45,000), with a gain of 12,000 in management, scientific, and technical consulting services.
- Health care added 44,000 jobs in February. The job growth occurred in hospitals (+19,000) and nursing and residential care facilities (+14,000).
- Construction employment grew by 24,000 in February, with an average monthly increase of 20,000 over six months.
- Employment in social assistance rose by 19,000 in February, similar to the average monthly gain of 22,000 over six months.
North Central Florida Labor Numbers
Florida’s economy continues to steadily support job growth compared to other states, with February’s unemployment rate remaining at a low of 2.6% and lower than the national rate for 28 consecutive months. In addition, private sector employment has increased by 406,600 jobs over the year, and Florida’s labor force grew by 247,000 (+2.3%) in February, faster than the national labor force growth rate of 1.5%.
Locally, in Alachua County, the labor force, or number of individuals employed and seeking employment, in February was 145,193, while employment in the county was 141,482, compared to the January labor force of 143,540 and the employment rate of 139,879. In the same month, Gainesville’s unemployment rate followed the state at 2.6%, with the unemployment level at 3,711. A stand-out number, the total nonagricultural jobs in the county increased by 5,800 or 3.9%
Many job opportunities are available throughout the state, with more than 409,000 jobs posted online! We encourage Floridians searching for work and new job opportunities to turn to the CareerSource North Central Florida network for help. If you want to learn more about available jobs in the North Central Florida area, please email [email protected].