Lowest rate since September 2008
By Chris Fish
BREVARD -- Brevard County's unemployment rate fell to 7.3 percent for the month of April, its lowest percentage since nearly five years ago.
Reports issued by Florida's Department of Economic Opportunity indicated that both the unemployment rate and workforce for the county improved with an increase to 265,967 jobs in April of this year from 265,166 in March.
According to the report, the number of people with jobs for the month of April in Brevard rose to 264,660, which is an increase from 245,376 from March.
"The consistent drop in the unemployment rate, with an increase in our labor force, certainly is a positive trend," said Lisa Rice, president of Brevard Workforce. "However, we are starting to see the impact of sequestration on the workforce and expect to see this impact reported by the state in the months to come."
Lynda Weatherman, president and CEO of the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast, said the rate is encouraging and many of the major cities in the county are showing unemployment rates unseen since 2008.
"Unemployment rate is just one gauge of an area's economic health, and it can fluctuate for a variety of reasons, but is undeniable that unemployment is on its way down in our largest cities across the Space Coast," she said in a email. "Our three largest cities each posted rates in April at levels unseen since 2008. This welcomed trend is happening in part because the EDC and a variety of essential community partners are working to ensure our economy remains active and growing."
Ms. Weatherman said numerous companies have announced more than 1,150 jobs so far this year, with dozens of additional projects in the pipeline.
"We are striving to keep that growth going, even as we work to highlight the competitive advantages and quality-of-life attributes that make the Space Coast such a worthwhile business destination," she said.
Statewide, Florida projected an unemployment rate of 7.2 percent, the lowest rate since September 2008, when it was 7 percent.
Florida's rate is currently below the national average of 7.5 percent.