New numbers released today show the U.S. economy added about 200,000 jobs in December, bringing the unemployment rate down to 8.5%, the lowest rate in nearly 3 years. This continues a 6-month trend in which the economy has added 100,000 or more jobs each month. Workforce Connection CEO Rusty Skinner says North Central Florida is seeing job growth similar to the growth being seen nationally.[audio:http://www.wuft.org/media/audio/Skinner1CP.mp3]
He is optimistic about a decrease in unemployment numbers for this year.[audio:http://www.wuft.org/media/audio/Skinner3CP.mp3]
The numbers also showed government hiring lagged behind private hiring. Skinner says its because the private sector reacts faster to economic forces than government.[audio:http://www.wuft.org/media/audio/Skinner4CP.mp3]
In total, the economy added 1.6 million jobs in 2011, an increase from the 940,000 jobs that were added in 2010.