South Florida’s job market continues to mend.
Greater Miami’s jobless rate fell to 6.8 percent in September, while the Fort Lauderdale area’s unemployment rate fell to 5.2 percent, according to data, not seasonally adjusted, from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
That marked a 1.3 percentage point drop from a year earlier in the unemployment rate for the metro area including Miami, Kendall and Miami Beach and a 0.7 percentage point drop for greater Fort Lauderdale.
The steady drop in unemployment came as new jobs were created throughout the private sector — including in construction, manufacturing and professional and business services — more than offsetting softness in government jobs in Miami.
Greater Miami added 35,400 jobs in the year ended in September, a 3.4 percent increase in employment, while metro Fort Lauderdale, including Pompano Beach and Deerfield Beach, added 20,500 jobs, marking a 2.7 percent growth in payroll over the period.
South Florida has come a long way from the grim days of double-digit joblessness. The unemployment rate in Miami-Dade County peaked at 11.8 percent in October 2009.
“One of the good things for us is, once again, the construction numbers are really strong and the manufacturing numbers are significantly higher,” said Robert Cruz, chief economist for Miami-Dade County. “It’s a good report. I don’t think we could realistically ask for anything better.’’
The only sector to show job losses in Miami-Dade was government. The Miami area had 1,500 fewer government jobs in September than a year earlier, a 1.1 percent drop, with federal posts declining by 500 and local jobs declining by 1,100, overshadowing a gain of 100 state jobs.
The government job sector around Fort Lauderdale fared better, adding 3,200 local government jobs year over year, for 3.6 percent growth in local government payroll that offset the loss of 100 federal jobs.
Florida’s unemployment rate was a seasonally adjusted 6.1 percent in September, chalking up a decline of 0.2 percentage point from August and a drop of 0.8 percentage points from September 2013.
Florida’s jobless rate hasn’t been that low since June 2008, when it was 6 percent. The state added 13,400 jobs in the month, an increase of 0.2 percent. The statewide job force grew 2.7 percent from a year earlier, with 205,600 jobs added.
South Florida continues to stand out in the state’s economic recovery: Among the state’s 22 metro areas, only Orlando showed bigger job growth, with an increase of 3.7 percent, or 39,900 jobs, over the period, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. The Miami and Fort Lauderdale metro areas ranked No. 2 and No. 3, respectively.