Florida’s unemployment rate is dropping.
The state Department of Economic Opportunity announced Friday the unemployment rate dipped to 4.8 percent in March, down from 5 percent one month earlier. That’s slightly lower than March 2016, when the state reported a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 4.9 percent.
“This is an exciting day — jobs, jobs, jobs,” said Gov. Rick Scott, who announced the March jobs numbers at Pelican Wire in Naples. “When I ran back in 2010, I ran on a campaign of 700,000 jobs over seven years. Now we’re at 6 years and 3 months and 1.35 million jobs. That’s great. This state is on a roll. We have job openings in our state, our labor force is growing.”
On Friday, Scott boasted the state has added more than 60,000 private sector jobs in the first quarter of 2017. That brings the total number of private sector jobs added since December 2010 more than 1.3 million, according to the Governor’s Office.
According to the Department of Economic Opportunity, the education and health services industry saw the most job gains in March. The industry, according to the agency, added 44,300 jobs, or a 3.6 percent increase.
The professional and business services industry added 43,500 jobs in March, followed by trade, transportation and utilities with 40,3000 jobs, and the construction industries with 36,500 jobs. The information industry was the only industry losing jobs, according to the Department of Economic Opportunity.
The Orlando area led the state in job creation, adding 42,700 new private-sector jobs in March, according to the Governor’s Office. The unemployment rate for the region was 3.9 percent.
The leisure and hospitality industry led the pack in Orlando, adding 12,000 new jobs; followed by trade, transportation and utilities with 8,200 new jobs, and professional and business services with 7,1200 new jobs.
The Tampa Bay region added nearly 42,000 new jobs and had an unemployment rate of 4.1 percent. The region was first among the metro areas in job demand, with 44,544 job openings.
Monroe County had the state’s lowest unemployment rate at 2.8 percent, while Hendry County had the highest unemployment rate at 6.4 percent.