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Florida jobless rate dips as state adds nearly 30,000 jobs

Jacksonville's unemployement rate down 0.6 percent from last year

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida is leading the nation in job growth.

New figures released Friday show the state added 29,600 jobs in May. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that's the highest raw total in the country.

The state's unemployment rate dropped to 4.3 percent in May, a slight decline from April's rate of 4.5 percent. Florida's unemployment rate is now even with the national rate.

The Jacksonville area added 22,700 new private-sector jobs in the last year. Jacksonville’s unemployment rate was 3.8 percent in May, down 0.6 percentage points from one year ago. 

“Like the rest of the state, Jacksonville has seen great economic success, with nearly 23,000 new jobs created for Northeast Florida families over the past year," Gov. Rick Scott said. "We will continue to fight each day to make it easier for job creators to grow in Florida so our families can have the opportunities they need to succeed now and well into the future.” 

The industries with the highest growth over the year in Jacksonville were professional and business services with 6,100 new jobs and trade, transportation and utilities with 5,300 new jobs. The Jacksonville area rounded out the top five metro areas in job demand, with 20,813 openings, and ranked fourth-highest for number of high-skill, high-wage STEM occupations with 5,844 job openings.

The following are the employment numbers for the surrounding counties:

  • Baker County added 461 private-sector jobs, marking a full percent drop in unemployment.
  • Clay County added 4,053 jobs private-sector jobs, marking a 0.5 percent drop in unemployment.
  • Nassau County added 1,498 private-sector jobs, marking a 0.5 percent drop in unemployment. 
  • St. Johns County added 4,580 private-sector jobs in the last year, marking a 0.3 percent drop in unemployment. 

Florida is also among the leaders in overall job growth for the past year. The state's jobs have grown by 2.7 percent, which matches Nevada, Utah, where overall jobs have grown by 3.3 percent.

Texas and California have added more total jobs than Florida in the past 12 months.

Scott highlighted the job numbers during a visit to an Orlando- based packaging company.