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Florida's Unemployment Rate Dips to 7 Percent

September 19, 2013 - 6:00pm

Florida's unemployment rate dropped to 7 percent in August, ending the three-month stall of the 7.1 percent unemployment rate.

Gov. Rick Scott announced the number on Friday in Melbourne.

Todays announcement is great news for Florida families as the states unemployment rate dropped to 7 percent in August," said Scott. "Since December 2010, the unemployment rate has dropped 4.1 percentage points and Florida has created 365,500 new private-sectorjobs. This is evidence that our pro-growth and business-friendly policies are working.

Florida's unemployment rate has dropped 4.1 percentage points since its high of 11.1 percent in December 2011 and is now at the lowest rate it's been since September 2008. The Sunshine State's unemployment rate remained below the national average of 7.3 percent.

There are now an estimated 656,000 people out of work in the stateout of a labor force of 9,391,000 and the number of jobs in the state was up 131,400 from August ayear ago, an increase of 1.8 percent.

According to theFlorida Department of Economic Opportunity,Monroe County once again had the states lowest unemployment rate at 4 percent, followed by Walton County, whose unemployment rate was4.1 percent Okaloosa County had the third-lowest unemployment rate at 4.7 percent, followed by Franklin and St. Johns counties with a 5.2 percent unemployment rate each. Many of thecounties with the lowest unemployment rates were those with relatively high proportions of governmentemployment. Seasonal tourism also was a contributing factor.

Hendry County had the highest unemployment rate in Florida at 15.4 percent, followed by Flagler and St. Lucie counties with a 10.1 percent unemployment rate. Indian River and Putnam counties trailed behind with an unemployment rate of 9.4 percent each.

The announcement comes as good news to Scott, who's seeking re-election next year. Job growth has been a key issue during his time as governor and will continue to be central to the governor's campaign in 2014. Scott has defended job growth throughout the state and says he hasmanagement skills to nurse Florida's economy back to health. During the first two and a half years of his tenure as governor, statewide unemployment has continued to fall steadily as the economy slowly recovers from the Great Recession.

Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen at or follow her on Twitter at @AllisonNielsen.

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