Leon County’s unemployment rate is among the lowest in the state.
According to the most recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Florida’s unemployment rate of 10.7 percent is higher than the national average of 9.1 percent. As of July, Leon County’s unemployment rate hovered just below the national average at 8.9 percent.
A color-coded map released by the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation on Sept. 16, shows Leon County and 22 other counties as having an unemployment rate under 9.7 percent. Only five of the 23 counties have unemployment below 7.8 percent: Okaloosa, Walton, Liberty, Lafayette, and Monroe.
Five counties, Hernando, Flagler, Indian River, St. Lucie and Hendry, are shown to have an unemployment rate between 13 percent and 17.9 percent, well above Florida’s state average of unemployment.
In June, Workforce Florida, Inc. released information about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranking Florida number one among the states in workforce and job training. Last year, Florida was ranked second.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranks states based on their job placement, affordability and efficiency of its higher education system and the number of high school students enrolled in advanced placement courses.
“This latest top ranking is a testament to the value and success of our ongoing efforts to solidify Florida’s vision for a winning, globally competitive workforce with education and training programs that sustain and strengthen the talent supply for our state’s businesses,” said Chris Hart IV, president and CEO of Workforce Florida, Inc. in the press release.
Workforce Florida, Inc., with the Agency for Workforce Innovation and the State’s 24 Regional Workforce Boards, was created in 2000 with the vision of “getting Floridians back to work.” The organizations also want to restructure Florida’s labor system by providing greater local control of workforce programs and increasing flexibility.
The Economic Development Council, part of the City of Tallahassee, has also been working closely with local businesses looking to expand and other companies that want to move into Tallahassee. The council utilizes a number of different programs, several targeted at established, high growth and high wage jobs.
“We market the competitive advantages of this region to several different audiences,” said Beth Kirkland, executive director of the Economic Development Council since 2007. “We also market to a group of professionals who are hired by businesses looking for a new location.”
Tallahassee also has a talented workforce, Kirkland said. The Economic Development Council highlights the 45 percent of people in the local workforce who have a bachelor’s degree or higher, and are making the move to Tallahassee more attractive.
These advantages include affordable labor wages, being a right-to-work state and no personal income tax. Kirkland pointed out that Tallahassee is also a diverse city with two universities and a community college, as well as six other higher learning institutions.