Florida’s unemployment rate increased slightly, to 4.8 percent, in October, but the state’s job growth rate continued to exceed the national trend, according to statistics released Friday.
The joblessness rate was up by 0.1 percent compared to September. Out of a labor force or more than 9.8 million Floridians, 473,000 who sought employment could not find it.
Still, Gov. Rick Scott said, businesses created 8,900 private-sector jobs, bringing the total since December 2010 to more than 1.2 million. It marked the 55th consecutive month Florida’s job growth rate exceeded the national rate, at 1.8 percent.
“Our unemployment since I got elected has gone from 10.7 percent to 4.8 percent, and we’ve had a total of 1,232,400 more jobs,” Scott said.
“We are beating everybody, including Texas, in job growth. We are No. 1 in the country.”
Scott discussed the numbers at Ideal Aluminum, a St. Augustine company that manufactures aluminum fences, gates, and railings.
He said Ideal has added more than 30 jobs in two years, now employing more than 110 people.
The size of the labor force nearly doubled since September, growing by 64,000 people. Scott attributed the trend to increased confidence in the state’s economy.
“Month after month, we continue to provide new opportunities for good jobs in Florida. We are excited that people are re-entering the labor force to pursue the next step in their careers,” said Cissy Proctor, executive director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
“We are relying on business people to build businesses and put people back to work,” Scott said. “That’s what we’ve done.”
The professional and business services sector led with 51,600 new jobs, followed by education and health services with 48,600, and leisure and hospitality with 41,800.
Job postings in the state showed 243,172 openings.
September’s job creation numbers were revised upward to reflect 18,900 new private-sector jobs.
The data show Monroe County had the state’s lowest unemployment rate, at 3.3 percent. St. Johns County came next, at 3.8 percent, followed by Lafayette County, with 4.1 percent.
Hendry County had the highest jobless rate, at 9.7 percent, followed by Sumter County, at 7.1 percent, and Hardee and Highlands counties, with 6.9 percent each.
Among the state’s major metropolitan areas, Miami‐Fort Lauderdale‐West Palm Beach showed a 5.1 percent unemployment rate; Tampa‐St. Petersburg‐Clearwater, 4.7 percent; Orlando‐Kissimmee‐Sanford, 4.5 percent; and Jacksonville, 4.7 percent.