Florida Unemployment Rate Drops to 6.4 Percent, Lowest Since July 2008

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP

     

    Florida's unemployment dropped again last month giving Gov. Rick Scott more good news to use as he cranks up his re-election campaign.

     

    The November rate dropped to 6.4 percent, or the lowest the rate has been since July 2008.

    Scott announced the new numbers in Orlando, where he maintained that his push for tax cuts and budget cuts had created an "opportunity economy" that has created more jobs.

    The November figures show that the state added slightly more than 6,000 jobs. Nearly 600,000 people in the state remain out of work.

    While Scott maintains his policies have helped Florida's recovery, economists say there are other reasons for the decline: People are leaving the labor force or had delayed their job search.

    The state Office of Economic and Demographic Research said in a report released earlier this week that Florida's real unemployment rate would be 8.3 percent if the amount of people in the labor force had held steady since December 2011.

    "The job market will take a long time to recover," the Office of Economic and Demographic Research said.

    Scott has made the state's improving economy the centerpiece of his 2014 re-election campaign. He has repeatedly reminded people that the state's unemployment rate soared during Crist's four years in office. Crist, who was a Republican when he was governor, has switched parties and is now running against Scott as a Democrat.

    The state's job growth over the last year has been in trade, transportation, utilities as well as in professional and business services, construction and in tourist-related businesses.

    Monroe County, which includes Key West, as well as Walton and Okaloosa counties in the Panhandle had the lowest unemployment rates in November. Hendry County, in the state's rural interior, has a 11.3 percent unemployment rate followed by Flagler County at 9.2 percent. Hendry's rate is due to long-term job losses in government employment.