Brevard jobs report: Growing labor force and more people working

By: Wayne T. Price, Florida Today

Brevard County’s job market looked pretty good in May.

Unemployment was down to 3.4 percent from 4.2 percent a year ago,  and the labor force grew by more than 2,300 people to 271,767.

That’s according to the latest jobs report released Friday by Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity. The number of jobs on the Space Coast grew by more than 4,000 over the 12 month period, with the biggest job gains in manufacturing, construction and the service sector.

The rosy numbers have quite a few people feeling happy, from Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican taking on Democrat incumbent Bill Nelson for one of the state’s U.S. Senate seats, to people like David Carlo of Melbourne who recently left a job at a call center for a better-paying position at a medical data company.

“Everything seems to be looking up,” Carlo said. “For people looking for a job, if they show a little diligence and persistence, they can find work. And for people with jobs it’s a chance to move up.”

The 3.4 percent May jobless rate for Brevard matched the April figure. However, the labor force jumped from April to May, as did the number of people working. The number of people without jobs remained about the same from April to May at 9,173.

Statewide, Florida businesses added 19,000 private-sector jobs in May over April and 179,000 in the past year. The state’s unemployment rate in May was 3.8 percent.

Scott quickly jumped on those figures, saying it shows his last two terms of governor have paid dividends for the state’s economy.

“Florida’s growing economy is producing real results for families across our state,” Scott said in a statement. “Every month, private-sector businesses are adding jobs, dropping our unemployment, making it easier for every Floridian to find great work.”

With the latest jobs numbers for Brevard, the Space Coast is on track to have one of its highest employment years ever.

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