Florida added 21,000 new private sector jobs in October, and the state’s unemployment rate notched down to 3.4 percent, the lowest it has been since just before the Great Recession ravaged Florida starting in late 2007.

The jobs numbers were announced Friday morning by Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

The 3.4 percent statewide unemployment rate is a drop from a high of 10.8 at the peak of the Great Recession in December 2010, and the drop of 7.4 percentage points since then is faster than the national decline of 5.6 percentage points in the same eight-year period, an announcement declared.

Florida’s annual job growth rate of 3.2 percent continues to exceed the nation’s rate of 2 percent. In the past year, 107,000 people entered Florida’s labor force, a growth of 1.1 percent.

In a news release, Cissy Proctor, executive director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity,  said, “Florida’s economy is strong and growing. Governor Scott’s leadership and commitment to job creation in our state has helped millions of Floridians live the American Dream.”

In the 12 months ending in October, Florida added 51,300 new jobs in the education and health services sector, 51,100 in leisure and hospitality, 43,400 in construction, and 30,100 in professional and business services.

 The one sector losing jobs was government, which shed 8,900 jobs in the 12-month period.

Monroe County and Okaloosa County had the state’s lowest unemployment rate in October, 2.4 percent. Hendry County had the highest, at 5.4 percent.

OF 24 metropolitan areas, 23 saw year-over-year job gains, with the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford market leading, adding 55,400 jobs. The Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater markets each added about 29,000 jobs. Panama City was the only metro area to shed jobs, dropping 100 in the one-year run.

About The Author

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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