Florida’s Jobless Mark Down To 5.5 Percent

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF)–  Florida’s jobless rate dipped two percentage points, following the national trend.

The Sunshine State’s jobless mark for June stood at 5.5 percent, below the 5.7 percent rate that was recorded in May, the state Department of Economic Opportunity announced Friday. The rate had hovered around 5.7 percent since the end of 2014.

The positive jobs report was attributed to growth in the fields of wholesale and retail trade, education and health services and leisure and hospitality, offsetting monthly drops in construction, professional and technical positions and government jobs.

“FL’s month-to-month job growth has been positive for 44 consecutive months, adding 12,000 new jobs in June,” Gov. Rick Scott tweeted Friday.

The latest figures show 529,000 Floridians being out of work from a workforce of 9.55 million. In May, an estimated 545,000 Floridians qualified as being out of work.

The state’s unemployment mark stood at 6.1 percent a year ago, which matched the national figure.

The federal jobless figure for June 2015 stood at 5.3 percent, down from 5.5 percent in May.

In announcing the monthly unemployment totals during an appearance at ODC Construction in Orlando, Scott also highlighted that a business recruiting mission yielded a Pennsylvania-based provider of business-law software and services to open a Central Florida office.

“We are excited that the company has decided to expand in Florida,” Scott said in a statement released by his office.

In its own release, the Newton Square, Pa.-based Wilson Legal Solutions said the company’s office in Orlando’s Sand Lake Business Center came about in part because of Scott’s recruiting trip to Philadelphia in February.

“After attending an Enterprise Florida event in January, and meeting with Governor Rick Scott, we felt Orlando was the best choice for our new office,” Bruce Wilson, managing director and CEO of Wilson Legal Solutions, said in a prepared statement. “We believe this location will provide us with access to strong talent as we continue to build our organization.”

A spokeswoman for Enterprise Florida said she couldn’t confirm if the state used incentives to help Wilson Legal Solutions open the Orlando office. State law shields information about business incentives for six months.

Wilson Legal Solutions also has offices in New York City, Anaheim, Calif., and London.

Meanwhile, across Florida, the lowest unemployment rate continues to be found in Monroe County, which hit 3.6 percent in June, down from 3.8 percent a month earlier. Next lowest is St. Johns County which held at 4 percent month-to-month. Okaloosa and Franklin counties were at 4.4 percent, followed by Walton County at 4.5 percent.

At the other end, rural Hendry County on the southwest side of Lake Okeechobee had the highest jobless mark, increasing from 8.3 percent in May to 10.3 percent as the growing season came to a close.

Next highest were Hardee County at 7.8 percent, Putnam County at 7.7 percent and Citrus County at 7.6 percent.

Among Florida’s more-populated counties, Broward, Hillsborough, Lee, Brevard, Pinellas, Orange, Seminole, Volusia and Duval all recorded slight drops in unemployment from May to June. Palm Beach and Polk counties both showed no change. Miami-Dade County’s unemployment rate went up.

(The News Service of Florida’s Jim Turner contributed to this report.)

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