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Politics

Unemployment Rate Creeps to 6.3 Percent

June 19, 2014 - 6:00pm

Floridas unemployment rate increased to 6.3 percent during the month of May, with the state losing 17,900 jobs, according to a report released Friday.

The Sunshine State's unemployment rate now matches the national rate. The state's unemployment rate has been equal to or below the national unemployment rate for the last 13 months.

Over 605,000 Floridians were jobless in May.

The silver lining in Fridays report was that the state still has nearly 219,000 more jobs than it did a year ago, an increase of almost 3 percent. Floridas annual job growth rate has exceeded the nations rate since April 2012.

The industries gaining the most jobs were trade, transportation, and utilities, which gained 53,500 jobs.

In May, Walton County had the states lowest unemployment rate of 3.4 percent, followed by Monroe County (3.6 percent) and Okaloosa County, which had an unemployment rate of 4.4 percent.

The county with the highest unemployment rate in the state went to Hendry, which had an unemployment rate of 9.4 percent. Flagler County and Hamilton County had the second and third highest unemployment rates, with 8.6 and 8.5 percent, respectively.

Several of the states largest counties had unemployment rates below the statewide average, like Hillsborough, Palm Beach and Orange counties.

The report comes as a blow to Gov. Rick Scott, who has largely been trumpeting the states low unemployment rate and growing workforce in his pitch for re-election. Scott pointed to long-term job trends as indicators of steps in the right direction for Florida.

Long-term trends demonstrate that Floridas poised for success, said Gov. Scott after the reports release. Private-sector job trends have been on the rise for over three years, our unemployment rate has declined or remained steady for 43 of the last 45 months, and for the fifth month in a row our labor force has grown. Floridas had an amazing turnaround, and we have to continue working every day to create jobs for families.

Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen atAllison@sunshinestatenews.comor follow her on Twitter at @AllisonNielsen.

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