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Florida unemployment rate keeps dropping

Jacksonville adds nearly 22,000 jobs over the year, Gov. says

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida's unemployment rate is 4.8 percent, a slight drop from the previous month.

The state figures released Friday show April's unemployment was down from 4.9 percent in March. Florida added 31,100 jobs.

According to a news release from Gov. Rick Scott, Jacksonville added 21,600 new private-sector jobs over the year in April. The area’s unemployment rate declined by 0.8 percentage point over the year to 4.3 percent.

“Every new job makes an important difference in someone’s life, and that is why we will continue to work toward making Florida a national leader for jobs," Scott said in the release.

The industries with the greatest job gains over the year in the Jacksonville area were leisure and hospitality with 5,900 new jobs and education and health services with 4,900 new jobs. The Jacksonville area remained in the top five areas in the state for job demand, with 22,146 job openings. The area also ranked fifth for high-wage, science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) jobs with 5,953 online job openings in April.

Florida now has 472,000 jobless residents out of a labor force of 9,801,000. The state has added 254,500 jobs over the past year, an increase of 3.2 percent.

The state remains below the national unemployment rate of 5.0 percent.

Monroe County had the state's lowest unemployment rate at 3.0 percent, followed by Hamilton County at 3.2 percent and St. John's County at 3.4 percent.

Hendry County had the state's highest unemployment rate at 7.0 percent, followed by Sumter County at 6.6 percent and Citrus County at 6.3 percent.