Unemployment in county soars to 16.2 percent in August

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Unemployment in Indian River County shot up to 16.2 percent in August, making the county the third highest in the state with workers looking for jobs.The jump represented an increase from 9,422 unemployed in the county in July to 10,275 in August out of a potential workforce of 63,243. In August of last year unemployment in Indian River County stood at 15.1 percent. Overall in the state, unemployment rose slightly last month to 11.7 percent, a 0.2 percent increase from July.

There are 51 Florida counties with double-digit unemployment rates in August, up from 49 the previous month.Hendry County (20.6 percent) has the highest unemployment rate in Florida in August, followed by Flagler County (16.4 percent); Indian River County (16.2 percent); St. Lucie County (15.6 percent); and Hernando County (15.0 percent).

Indian River usually sees a slowing in economic activity in the summer due to declines in agriculture and tourism. The county has had some success in attracting businesses.  NetBoss Technologies announced last week that it was setting up its corporate headquarters in the county and would be bringing with it about 60 high-paying jobs.Commissioners are also hoping for passage of a tax abatement bill that would provide incentives for business that make capital improvements and add at least 10 jobs. Liberty County has the state’s lowest unemployment rate (7.5 percent); followedby Walton County (7.8 percent); Okaloosa County (8.0 percent); Lafayette County (8.4 percent) and Monroe County (8.5 percent). Most of the counties with the lowest unemployment rates have a high number of government workers and a seasonal increase in tourism.

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