Florida’s unemployment rate creeped up slightly during the month of December, according to the latest data from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
Gov. Rick Scott made the announcement in Ponte Vedra Beach Friday morning.
Florida's unemployment rate is still lower than the national unemployment rate, which was 4.1 percent last month.
December’s unemployment rate was down 1.2 percent from the same time last year.
According to the report, the Sunshine State added 33,000 private-sector jobs during the month of December with 374,000 Floridians were out of work last month.
Business and professional services gained the most jobs over the year, followed by the construction industry and the trade industry.
The governor’s office has touted the private-sector job growth numbers as an indicator Florida is on the right path when it comes to getting people back to work.
“Our work to cut taxes, reduce regulation and encourage economic growth has sent a message across the country that Florida is where job creators and families should go to succeed,” Scott said Friday. “Florida had a great year of job creation in 2017 and we will fight each day to make sure our state remains the best place for new opportunities in 2018 and for years to come.”
St. Johns County boasted the state’s lowest unemployment rate at 2.8 percent, followed by Monroe and Okaloosa Counties, which had unemployment rates of three percent each.
Hendry County had the highest unemployment rate at 6.5 percent, followed by Hardee County (5.5 percent) and Citrus County (5.4 percent).
Jobs have been a key aspect of Scott’s tenure as governor. He has largely built his two gubernatorial bids on getting Floridians back to work following the Economic Recession and jobs will undoubtedly be a large theme of his rumored campaign for the U.S. Senate this year.
Cissy Proctor, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, said the latest numbers were a good sign for Florida families and pointed to Scott’s leadership as part of the reason for the state’s job growth last year.
“Florida businesses had strong job growth in 2017, creating nearly 205,000 jobs for families throughout the state,” Proctor said. “It is important to continue to support Governor Scott’s pro-business priorities to ensure our state stays competitive and recruits new businesses.”