TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida's unemployment rate edged up slightly last month and now matches the national jobless rate.
New numbers released Friday show that the state's unemployment rate in May was 6.3 percent, 0.1 percent higher than the April figure.
The unemployment rate in northeast Florida edged up a tad more -- from 5.6 percent in April to 5.8 percent in May. Flagler and Putnam counties continue to have among the highest jobless rates in the state, while St. Johns and Alachua counties have among the lowest, even though both counties saw higher unemployment rates last month. (See county-by-county numbers at bottom of this article.)
There are roughly 606,000 jobless Floridians out of a workforce of 9.6 million.
The bump in the rate is not totally unexpected. Economists had expected it to grow slightly as more people start seeking work as the economic recovery continues, but Florida also lost nearly 18,000 jobs last month.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said that was the steepest drop in jobs in the nation.
"Long-term trends demonstrate that Florida's poised for success," Gov. Rick Scott said in a statement released Friday. "Private sector job trends have been on the rise for over three years, our unemployment rate has declined or remained steady for 43 of the last 45 months, and for the fifth month in a row our labor force has grown."
Scott's campaign has made the economy, and private sector job creation, a focal point of numerous commercials that compare the current economic numbers with those during the term of former Gov. Charlie Crist -- anticipated to be Scott's mail rival in this year's reelection campaign.
Crist was in office as Florida struggled through the national economic recession. A campaign spokesman called Scott's release, "a gymnastics show."
|May 2014||April 2013||May 2013|
|St. Johns County||4.9||4.6||5.8|
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