Jobless rate in state now even with national number

THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

Florida’s unemployment rate fell to 5 percent in November from a revised 5.2 percent in October, according to figures released Dec. 18 by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

The November mark puts Florida even with the national unemployment rate for the first time since January. The state had been above the national rate since that time. Florida’s October’s figure was initially projected at 5.1 percent.

In a news release, Gov. Rick Scott focused on the creation of 35,600 private-sector jobs across the state during November, nearly reaching the 36,600 private-sector jobs reportedly created in October, which was a 10-year high. The biggest private sector gains in November were found in the fields of construction, trade, transportation and utilities, and professional and business services, according to the release from the governor’s office.

Lowest in Monroe
The preliminary figures for November show an estimated 486,000 jobless Floridians from a workforce of 9.58 million. The jobless total is down 8,000 from September. The numbers indicate that the number of Floridians working grew by 56,000 between October and November.

However, the data also show that there were only 49,000 more people working in November from the same point a year earlier, when the state’s unemployment rate was 5.7 percent. Over the past year, the state’s labor force has decreased by 20,000 people, and those qualified as unemployed decreased by 69,000.

Across the state, the lowest were found in Monroe (3.3 percent) and St. Johns (3.6 percent) counties. The highest rate is held by Hendry County (8.3 percent).

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