Florida jobless rate down in May

To read more about the states with the most jobs, click here.
To read more about the states with the most jobs, click here. (iStock)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida's unemployment rate dropped from 4.8 percent in April to 4.7 percent in May, with the new rate representing an estimated 457,000 people being out of work, according to state Department of Economic Opportunity figures released Friday.

The numbers reflect a projected 16,000 fewer people identified as unemployed from April to May, while the workforce of 9.8 million shrank by 30,000 in the same time.

The state unemployment mark now matches the federal rate, which dropped from 5 percent to 4.7 percent between April and May.

"Private sector businesses across the state are continuing to add jobs," Cissy Proctor, executive director of the Department of Economic Opportunity, said Friday. "They are continuing to look for more workers and more people to employ. Job openings across the state are a strong indicator of that."

In a series of localized news releases, Gov. Rick Scott pointed to the Tampa area as leading the state in private-sector job creation over the past year, with 47,600 new hires in that time. Also over the past year, the state estimates that 46,000 new jobs have been added in the Orlando area, 30,000 in the Fort Lauderdale area, 22,100 in the Jacksonville area, 20,400 in the Miami area and 12,000 in the West Palm Beach area.

The industries with the largest job growth over the year in the Jacksonville area were leisure and hospitality, with 6,800 new jobs, and education and health services, with 5,500 new jobs. In May, the Jacksonville area ranked fifth among the metro areas in job demand, with 20,136 job openings, including 5,560 job openings in high-wage, high-skill STEM occupations.

St. Johns County's jobless rate of 3.2 percent is the third lowest in Florida. Putnam and Flagler counties remain well above the state average for unemployment.

  May 2016   April 2016    May 2015  
Alachua County  3.8% 3.8% 4.7%
Baker County 4.2% 4.3% 5.6%
Bradford County  3.8% 4.0% 4.9%
Clay County 3.9% 4.1% 5.0%
Columbia County       4.4% 4.5% 5.7%
Duval County 4.4% 4.6% 5.8%
Flagler County 4.9% 5.2% 6.4%
Nassau County 3.9% 4.2% 5.2%
Putnam County 5.0% 5.1% 7.2%
St. Johns County    3.2% 3.4% 4.0%
Union County 4.1% 4.3% 4.8%