Florida unemployment rate drops again - to 7.1%

Jobless rate in May ticks up in most northeast Florida counties

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Florida's unemployment rate keeps dropping, in spite of northeast Florida trending the other way.

May jobless numbers released Friday morning show the new unemployment rate is 7.1 percent -- a drop of 0.1 percent from the previous month and the lowest rate in Florida since September 2008.

The jobless rate in Jacksonville actually went up in May -- from 6.8 to 7.0 percent -- and most other northeast Florida counties ticked up as well. Despite that, the rate in the Jacksonville metropolitan area was 6.5 percent -- significantly lower than the state average.

Flagler and Putnam counties continue to have among the state's highest unemployment rates. (County-by-county statistics at bottom of this article.)

Gov. Rick Scott has been using the state's dropping unemployment rate as part of his re-election pitch. He spent the last week on a trade mission to Paris. During the trip he has announced that several companies are expanding or relocating to Florida.
The May rate is the lowest it has been in Florida since September 2008. There are now an estimated 671,000 Floridians out of work.

Florida's unemployment rate remains well below the national average of 7.6 percent.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports Florida has gained the third highest number of jobs in the nation since last year.

"Each month, we continue to distance ourselves from the national unemployment rate, and it is clear we are succeeding in growing opportunities for Florida families to pursue the American Dream," Scott said in a release. "Once again, Florida's unemployment rate is well below the national average."

May 2013 April 2013 May 2012 
Alachua County5.3%4.8%6.7%
Baker County6.4%6.2%7.7%
Bradford County5.6%5.3%7.2%
Clay County5.8%5.8%7.8%
Columbia County6.4%6.2%8.0%
Duval County7.0%6.8%8.6%
Flagler County9.5%9.3%11.3%
Nassau County5.5%5.6%7.4%
Putnam County9.2%9.0%10.7%
St. Johns County   5.5%5.1%6.8%
Union County5.8%5.6%7.2%
Florida average7.1%7.2%9.3%

Copyright 2013 by News4Jax.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.