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Economy / Business

When a Drop in Unemployment Isn't Necessarily a Good Thing

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Florida's unemployment rate dropped to 8.7 percent in April, but that was largely due to people leaving the labor force.
 
Federal officials earlier this month announced the national unemployment rate dropped from 8.2 percent to 8.1 percent in April. But that was mainly because more people gave up looking for work.

That's also what happened in Florida, where the civilian labor force declined by 28,000 workers in April.

Alexis Muellner, editor of the Tampa Bay Business Journal says,  no matter how you analyze it,  a downward trend in unemployment is a good thing. But, he says, this is not a good number for those still looking for work...

"There are a lot of chronically unemployed people that are having a hard time... some of whom haven't had interviews or real prospects in a a really long time. Yeah, you want to take the positive, but it's still a  mixed bag."

Tampa Bay's overall unemployment rate fell from 8.9 to 8.5 percent in April. But it's still lagging behind the rest of the nation. Muellner says that's because of one thing -- the depressed real estate market.

"You can't underestimate the impact that the down economy in real estate and contracting and all that that industry brought in terms of job growth."

In a statement released Friday, Governor Rick Scott said, "This continued drop in Florida's unemployment rate is proving our economy is on the path to recovery and Floridians are getting back to work."