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Florida Lost 355,700 Jobs in 08, Recession To Last Longer

From The St. Pete Times:

Turns out the recession gripping Florida has been even deeper than reported, with monthly estimates overlooking thousands of lost jobs in construction and retail. The upshot: Economists now think the state will lag the rest of the country in recovery, shoving back expectations of a Florida turnaround into 2010.

Companies are shedding workers at a pace that rivals the 1974-75 recession, slashing 355,700 jobs last year based on the revisions. And topping it off, Florida’s unemployment rate jumped a full percentage point in January to 8.6 percent, a 16-year high, the state said Friday. It’s unlikely to stop there.

“In the near term, there’s not a lot to prevent a double-digit unemployment rate,” said Sean Snaith, director of the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Economic Competitiveness.

The state used tax records and other information to more accurately reflect the work force, going back 18 years in some cases. But most striking were changes to more recent months, revealing the state had overestimated the size of Florida’s work force as of December by more than 200,000.

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