JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Florida's unemployment rate ticked up to 8.8 percent in July, 0.2 percent higher than in June, but still nearly 2 percentage points below where it was a year ago.
The state's total number of jobs in July decreased by 3,300 from June, the state Department of Economic Opportunity said. Florida's July figures were half a percentage point higher than the national average of 8.3 percent.
"There will always be month to month fluctuations, so when you look at unemployment rates over time, graphically, you can see trends," said chief economist Rebecca Rust. "It's still very good but there are still little bumps along the way."
The jump in jobless numbers was even larger in Duval County, where the rate increased from 9.3 percent in June to 9.7 percent in July.
The jobless rate went up by at least 0.2 percent in every county in the greater Jacksonville area. Flagler and Putnam counties continue to have among the highest unemployment rates in the state. (See county-by-county chart at bottom of this article.)
This reverses a trend of improvement statewide for the past several months, which has been trumpeted loudly by Gov. Rick Scott.
"Month-to-month numbers are going to vary, but the long-term trend is positive," said Lane Wright, Scott's press secretary, as the governor traveled to Tampa on Friday to help celebrate the opening of a new business that hopes to add 300 employees. "The underlying economic data is extremely encouraging. Florida is moving in the right direction."
Scott has made job creation the hallmark of his administration and he has touted Florida's rebound in the job market to the chagrin of Republican colleagues who worry his enthusiasm serves to boost Obama's chances to carry Florida's 29 electoral votes in November.
|July 2012||June 2012||July 2011|
|St. Johns County||7.1%||6.8%||8.4%|
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