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Politics

Florida Unemployment Rate Flat, But Still Below National Average

August 15, 2013 - 6:00pm

Floridas unemployment rate remained flat for July, sitting at 7.1 percent -- the same number its been since May this year. Yet, it still sits slightly below the national average of 7.4 percent.

Gov. Rick Scott announced the Sunshine States unemployment rate Friday and also that the state created 34,500 private-sector jobs for the month of July. Scott also added that Florida has created more than 369,000 jobs in the two and a half years since he took office.

It is great news that with 34,500 new private-sector jobs created in July, we are more than halfway to our goal of creating 700,000 jobs in seven years, said Scott. In the four years before I took office, Florida lost 832,000 jobs and unemployment tripled to 11.1 percent. Now, with an unemployment rate below the national average for the fifthconsecutive month, and nearly 370,000 private-sector jobs added in two and a half years, its clear that its working in Florida. I am proud to say that Florida families are getting back to work and that Florida has the best climate for business.

Since December 2010, Floridas statewide unemployment rate has dropped 4 percentage points, from a rate of 11.1 percent to Julys rate of 7.1 percent. The national unemployment rate has dropped 1.9 percentage points in the same time frame.

According to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, there were 665,000 jobless Floridians out of a labor force of 9,404,000.

Monroe and Walton counties both had the lowest unemployment rates in the state at 4.2 percent, while Hendry County had the highest at 15.5 percent, followed by Flagler and St. Lucie counties with an unemployment rate of 10.4 percent each. According to FDEO, Hendry County had the highest unemployment rate in the state in July due to seasonal declines in agriculture and long?term job losses in state government.

The governor has been boasting an unemployment rate thats the lowest its been since September 2008, but critics are saying the unchanged unemployment rate could mean a stall in Floridas economic recovery.

The Florida Democratic Party was quick to attack Scott, taking to itsTwitter account to post a Politifact articledebunking the governors claim that the state is almost halfway to the goal of creating 700,000 private-sector jobs. The article was posted in May, when the state had added 302,500 jobs since December 2010. Excluding Gov. Scotts first month in office, January 2011, the number would have stood at 285,100 private-sector jobs.


Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen at allison@sunshinestatenews.com.

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