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Jacksonville jobs boom as unemployment may rise

Good news for job hunters on the First Coast could actually have a negative impact on a key gauge for the economy.

I’ve learned there are nearly 14% more job openings posted now for Jacksonville than a year ago- a faster rise than the state level of about 12% from January 2012 to January 2013.

“It is a good time for people to be back in the market,” says WorkSource Communications Vice President Candace Moody.

The figure is based on jobs posted online through various job posting boards, online classifieds, formal company listings, etc.  Moody says it’s the best gauge available for this specific measure, and it reflects jobs ranging from minimum wage openings to executive offices.

She says the job growth is “great news” and something that should give people confidence on the job hunt. But that’s where there’s a small complication.

“You’ll actually see more people get back in to the market, and that may mean a few upticks in unemployment,” she says.

Because unemployment is measured in part on whether people are actively looking for a job, Moody says more people getting back on the hunt could force the unemployment rate up.  Right now, she says a lot of unemployed have been too discouraged to actively hunt, but gains like this will change that.

“We really do think that employment is slowly starting to grow,” she says.

And with that growth, Jacksonville continues to lead among other counties in the state.  Moody tells me that’s largely because of the diversified economy- we don’t rely on just one or two industries but rather a broad range.

And for the now or soon-to-be job seeker that’s good news as well, because many of those industries are fast growing.

Moody says postings for registered nurses, food services managers and supervisors, hospitality and retail, truck drivers, customer service representatives, and IT have all shown big increases in the past year.

She expects we will see good growth in other industry again soon because some, especially business related, industries are now growing, but it takes some time for that to be reflected in job growth.

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