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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – Florida ended 2016 with an unemployment rate that was down a bit from the start of the year.

The monthly jobless mark of 4.9 percent for December represented 491,000 Floridians out of a workforce of 9.95 million, according to the state Department of Economic Opportunity.

“As we see a falling unemployment rate over the past 12 months and an increase in residents in our state and an increase in job participation, what it shows is more people are able to find jobs and find their new opportunities,” department Executive Director Cissy Proctor said.

The unemployment rate at the end of 2015 was 5.1 percent.

Gov. Rick Scott, attending the presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C. on Friday, issued a release that said Florida businesses created 237,300 new private-sector jobs in 2016.

The national unemployment rate in December stood at 4.7 percent, down from 4.9 percent when the year began.

Monroe County, which started 2016 with the state’s lowest unemployment rate at 3.3 percent, maintained the best mark at 3.0 percent last month.

Rural Hendry County throughout the year retained the highest jobless rate. The inland county southwest of Lake Okeechobee, started the year at 8.4 percent and ended 2016 at 8.0 percent.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.