Florida unemployment rate drops to 6 percent

Despite adding 34,000 jobs in October, rate remains above national average


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The state's jobless mark dipped slightly from 6.1 percent in September to a six-year-low of 6.0 percent in October, with the strongest growth found in education, health care and service-related fields.

The state Department of Economic Opportunity announced Friday that the number of people listed as unemployed in Florida fell by 13,000 from month to month and stood at 578,000 jobless out of a labor force of 9.6 million.

"Today's announcement that Florida has added 32,000 private-sector jobs is great news as we continue our work to ensure that every Floridian who wants a job can get one," Gov. Rick Scott said in a prepared statement.

While the jobs-focused Scott continues to concentrate on private-sector growth, the state agency recorded an overall increase of 34,400 jobs from September to October.

According to state numbers, the Jacksonville metro area added 22,000 jobs last month and most northeast Florida counties have jobless numbers below the Florida average. St. Johns, Bradford and Alachua's had jobless rates below 5 percent, while Flagler and Putnam counties continue to have among the highest unemployment rates in the state. (See county-by-county table at bottom of this article)

The state's unemployment rate is the lowest since June 2008. Florida's mark, which is above the national rate of 5.8 percent, has wavered between 6.2 percent and 6.3 percent most of this year.

Over the past year, the state has recorded job gains in 19 of the 22 metro areas, topped by 3.5 percent growth in both the Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall and Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford regions.

Statewide, the fields adding the most workers last month were in areas of education and health services and hospitality and food services. Growth also continued to be recorded in retail, construction, technical, and waste services, according to the Department of Economic Opportunity numbers.

State and local government jobs grew by 4,100 last month, while federal employment in Florida went down 1,700. Insurance, financial activities, transportation and utilities recorded declines in workers from September to October.


October 2014 September 2014 October 2013  
Alachua County 4.6%4.8%4.8%
Baker County5.1%5.2%5.8%
Bradford County 4.8%5.1%5.2%
Clay County5.2%5.5%5.9%
Columbia County 5.7%6.0%6.2%
Duval County5.9%6.2%6.7%
Flagler County8.2%8.4%9.6%
Nassau County5.0%5.3%5.7%
Putnam County7.7%8.0%8.6%
St. Johns County   4.7%4.9%5.1%
Union County5.4%5.6%5.6%