Florida unemployment rate flat even though state lost jobs

Jacksonville rate better than state average; St. Johns 2nd lowest in state

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida lost 5,000 jobs in February while the state's overall unemployment rate remains unchanged.

State officials announced Friday that the jobless rate remained 5 percent last month. That's higher than the overall national unemployment rate of 4.7 percent.

After leading the nation in job growth in January, however, Florida lost jobs. Still Florida's overall job growth rate in the past year has been among the highest in the nation.

At 3.6 percent, St. Johns County has the second lowest unemployment rate in the state (only Monroe County is lower), but Alachua, Bradford and Union counties each have among the lowest jobless rates in the state.

Duval County's 4.8 percent rate is better than the state average. Putnam County's 6.1 percent is tied for the sixth-highest unemployment rate in Florida. (See full county-by-county breakdown)

In announcing the latest employment report, Florida Gov. Rick Scott focused on the rate over the last two months, not the latest numbers.

“More than 25,000 new jobs were created for families in Northeast Florida over the last year, which is great news," Scott said. "Today’s announcement helps send a message across the country that Florida is the best place for businesses to grow and create new opportunities.”

Scott also the announcement to criticize Florida's House Republicans for voting to shutter the state's economic development agency.