Why Is It Important?
The unemployment rate is one of the the most watched statistics for gauging the health of the labor market and the economy. A rising unemployment rate is a sign of a weakening job market and spells trouble for workers, businesses, and the tax base.
What Is Measured?
The unemployment rate, measured by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) each month, is the percentage of people looking for a job who did not find a job in the past month. The unemployment rate represents the number of unemployed workers as a percent of the total civilian labor force. The unemployment rate may be expressed as follows:
Unemployment Rate = Unemployed Workers / Total Labor Force x 100
How Is It Measured?
The U.S. Department of Labor surveys 60,000 homes each month. According to the BLS, an unemployed person is defined as the following:
- Age 16 years and older
- Had no employment during the reference week
- Was available for work (except for temporary illness)
- Made specific efforts to find employment during the four-weeks prior to the reference week (actively seeking employment)
- Does not include those waiting to be recalled
- Does not include those no longer seeking
The labor force or workforce includes all persons classified as employed or unemployed as defined above.
This measure is updated annually, as data is available.
How Is Polk Performing?
The Polk Performs gauge indicates Red when Polk County’s unemployment rate has increased from the previous year. Yellow indicates no change. Green indicates that the rate has declined.
In 2017 the annual unemployment rate for Polk County was 4.6 percent, 3.5 percent for Florida, and 4.1 percent for the U.S. The unemployment rate for Polk County decreased a full percent from 5.6 percent in 2016 to 4.6 percent in 2017 as indicated above on the metric.
Since the recovery, Polk County has been slowly gaining ground on Florida and the nation as all three geographies approach employment levels that have historically been considered full-employment.
For more information on unemployment rates, please visit the Central Florida Development Council website.