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Florida unemployment rate holds steady in August

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida's unemployment rate held at 3.3 percent in August -- and was down slightly from a year ago, according to numbers released Friday by the state Department of Economic Opportunity.

The August estimate, which matched July's 3.3 percent rate, represented 342,000 Floridians without jobs from a workforce of just under 10.4 million.

The rate in August 2018 was 3.4 percent. Nationally, the unemployment rate last month was 3.7 percent.

The combined education and health-service fields have seen the biggest growth over the past year, accounting for 62,800 new jobs, followed by professional and business services at 46,800 jobs and leisure and hospitality at 23,500 jobs.

Among the state's metropolitan statistical areas, the Crestview-Fort Walton-Destin region in the Panhandle had the lowest unemployment rate last month at 2.8 percent, the same as in July.

The Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford area held at 3.2 percent, followed by the Gainesville area, at 3.3 percent.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the Jacksonville area added 13,400 new private-sector jobs in the last year. The area's unemployment rate was 3.4 percent in August, down 0.1 percentage point from one year ago. The industries with the highest growth over the year in the Jacksonville area were professional and business services with 4,200 new jobs, construction with 3,600 new jobs and education and health services with 3,500 new jobs.

In August, Jacksonville was among the top five metro areas in the state for online job demand with 27,953 openings, of those, 8,386 were for high-skill, high-wage STEM (science, math, engineering and mathematics) jobs.

The state's overall unemployment rate is seasonally adjusted, while the regional rates are not.

The highest unemployment rates remained in the metropolitan statistical areas for Homosassa Springs, Sebring and The Villages, each at 5.2 percent. The Panama City area, which continues to recover from last year's Hurricane Michael, held at 3.6 percent in August.