The number of working Floridians dropped by 127,400 between August and September, losses the state's Department of Economic Opportunity blames on damage caused by Hurricane Irma. Even as the number of jobs declined, so did the unemployment rate: The state's overall seasonally adjusted jobless rate was 3.8 percent in September, down 0.2 percentage point from August and down 1.1 percentage points from a year ago. The unemployment rate in both Sarasota and Manatee counties also dropped; the Sarasota County rate declined from 3.9 to 3.2 percent, while the Manatee County rate dropped from 4 to 3.3 percent.
The contrasting numbers are due in part to how the state's employment surveys were conducted. The overall employment figure declined primarily because workers who are not compensated for missed time were not counted as employed if their employers were not open for business or if they evacuated during the hurricane.
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