NE Fla. unemployment rate dips to 5.6%

State's rate remains flat overall

Headline Goes Here iStock

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida's unemployment rate is remaining relatively flat, but the Jacksonville metropolitan area gained 20,100 new jobs over the year in April.

The rate declined from 6.8 percent in April 2013 to 5.6 percent this past month.

"The decline in the unemployment rate to 5.6 percent, coupled with 20,100 new jobs means that families in Jacksonville are succeeding," Gov. Rick Scott said. "Let's keep working to ensure that every individual seeking a job in Jacksonville, can find one."

DOCUMENT: View county-by-county rates (pages 11-12) 

The industries with the largest job gains over the year were in professional and business services, with 7,600 new jobs, leisure and hospitality with 6,800 new jobs, and trade, transportation and utilities, with 2,500 new jobs. All nine private sector industries saw positive annual job growth in April.

Additionally, the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey indicates that 20 percent of companies interviewed plan to hire more employees.

The state's jobless rate for April was 6.2 percent, or a slight dip from March when the rate actually went up.

But that means the unemployment rate has been the same rate for most of this year.

There was an estimated 599,000 people out of work in the state.

Florida did gain 34,000 jobs last month and trailed only Texas and California in the number of jobs added in April, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Economists have said the numbers could be a sign that people are beginning to look for work again.

State economists have said a reason for past drops in the unemployment rate is that people left the labor force or had delayed their job search.

To view the April 2014 employment data, click here.

Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.