Florida's seasonally adjusted unemployment dipped to its lowest level in more than four years in February to 7.7 percent, the state's labor agency announced Friday.
It's the lowest jobless rate in Florida since October 2008 when unemployment stood at 7.4 percent in the state.
There were 729,000 jobless Floridians in February when the state's unemployment rate was 7.7 percent was the same as the national rate. Nationally, unemployment slid to a four-year low of 7.7 percent in February, down from 7.9 percent in January.
The U.S. Labor Department said unemployment rates fell in 22 U.S. states in February, an indication of an improving economy in many parts of the country. Unemployment increased in a dozen states and remained the same in 16.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott successfully campaigned on creating 700,000 new jobs in Florida over a seven-year span and has made that the primary issue of his administration.
The Department of Economic Opportunity reported Friday that 128,100 jobs have been added in Florida over the past year with the leisure and hospitality industry leading the way with more than 41,000 new jobs.
"Our efforts to reduce taxes, pay down state debt and grow the economy, demonstrates our success in growing jobs for Florida families," Scott said in a statement Friday.
Scott's campaign slogan, "Let's Get to Work," has been translated into "It's Working," as he begins focusing on a 2014 re-election bid despite an overall unfavorable job approval rating in a variety of polls.
Monroe County, which encompasses the Florida Keys, again had the state's lowest unemployment rate at 4.2 percent while Hendry County in southwest Florida had the highest unemployment rate at 10.8 percent mainly due to losses in state government positions. Many of the counties with low unemployment rates are those with comparatively high proportions of government. Strong population growth in some areas also keyed additional employment.
Flagler, Putnam and Hendry were the only Florida counties with double-digit unemployment in February.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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