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time unemployed increases on First Coast for December

Time:2018-02-10 20:40Turbochargers information Click:

Time Unemployed increases Firs

More people filed for first-time unemployment claims on the First Coast in December compared to November while the unemployment rate dropped.

Paul Mason, economist at the University of North Florida, said Monday that the number of people who claimed unemployment benefits for the first time on the First cost increased from 2,256 in November to 3,066 in December. The First Coast area of analysis for Mason includes Duval, St. Johns, Nassau, Clay and Baker counties.

Mason said that increase for initial unemployment claims is "substantial" even in December when retailers begin to cut loose part-time and seasonal workers who were hired to handle holiday shoppers.

"It's all about initial claims which normally rise in December as post-Christmas layoffs start to take place," Mason said. "It's not unexpected."

Meanwhile the number of people in the Northeast Florida labor force increased. There were 716,665 people in the workforce in December, an uptick from the November number of 713,794 people in the labor force. That also corresponded with falling unemployment rates, which dipped again from November to December going from 4.7 percent to 4.5 percent before seasonal adjustments.

Mason said despite the mixed bag of economic indicators, the First Coast is on solid economic footing.

"That's a strange combination," Mason said of the conflicting numbers of increasing first-time unemployment claims and falling jobless rates on the First Coast. "When the workforce is growing, the number if [first-time] unemployed rises and the unemployed rate falls, it just doesn't happen all that often.

"The media's driving people to think the economy's getting weaker. … But I don't think so," Mason said.

Drew Dixon: (904) 359-4098

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