Job losses are still among the major drivers of the continued surge in Florida foreclosures. In March, the unemployment rate in Florida hit12.3 percent, the highest level reached by the state since 1970 when the state began monitoring jobless rates.
In addition to jobs lost in previous months, another 4,000 jobs in Florida were eliminated in March. The 12.3-percent jobless rate was 0.1 point higher from the 12.2-percent reached in February and was far above the 9.7-percent national unemployment rate. Economists also contended that the rate could increase in the latter part of the year.
In February, the state of Florida added 26,300 jobs, the first gain over the past two years. But the February gain was erased by the 4,000 jobs lost in March, based on data from the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation.
Over the past several months, the rate of job losses throughout Florida slowed down a bit, but the losses were still significant. The only sector adding jobs in Florida is the healthcare sector. There are gains in jobs in the technology sector, but since technology industries do not have a big presence in Florida, technology job gains are not enough to cut down the jobless rate.
The pace of Florida foreclosures continued to surge in March and in the fourth quarter. In March, more than 59,000 homes were notified of delinquency, foreclosure and repossession, including 8,643 units already counted as bank-owned foreclosure homes.
Foreclosure filings in March surged by 9.3 percent from February and soared by more than 25 percent from total filings in March 2009. In the first quarter, filings rose by 7 percent compared to the final quarter of 2009 and surged by nearly 29 percent from the first three months of 2009.
Flagler County still topped other Florida counties in unemployment rate. Although its rate dropped from 17 percent in February, its March rate of 16.6 percent was still much higher than the statewide jobless rate. Hernando County posted the second highest rate of 15.1 percent. Liberty County posted the lowest rate in the state, which was 7.3 percent.
With both March and first quarter foreclosure activities increasing, Florida foreclosures made the state fourth in foreclosure pace in March and third in the first three quarter of this year among the 50 U.S. states.