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Florida’s unemployment rate dips to 4.9 percent

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Florida’s unemployment rate is at its lowest point in eight years.

The state’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.9 percent in February, down from 5.6 percent a year earlier. That’s significantly down from December 2010, when the state’s unemployment rate was 10.7 percent.

In a statement Friday, Gov. Rick Scott said the “unemployment rate is at the lowest it has been in eight years at 4.9 percent.”

“We have cut taxes over 55 times since 2010, including more than $1 billion in taxes cut over the last two years, which has saved Floridians $5.5 billion. This has resulted in our private sector adding more than one million jobs in only five years,” he said in a statement. “While these are incredible accomplishments for our state, we will continue to do all we can to support economic growth so Florida can be first in the nation for jobs.”

All of the state’s 24 metropolitan areas saw year-over-year gains in February. The Orlando area led the state with 47,900 new jobs, followed by the Tampa Bay region with 39,500 new jobs and Fort Lauderdale region with 30,800 jobs, according to the Department of Economic Opportunity.

State records show that the leisure and hospitality industry was one of the top growing industries in February. There were more 42,800 jobs in the industry, up 3.8 percent from the prior year.

But tourism wasn’t the industry that saw the largest year-over-year growth. That distinction went to professional and business services, which saw 4.4 percent year-over-year growth from February 2015 to February 2016.

“When Governor Scott took office, the unemployment rate was 10.7 percent. His efforts to improve Florida’s economy and spark private-sector growth have cut that unemployment rate more than in half,” said Cissy Proctor, the executive director of the Department of Economic Opportunities. “Today, more than one million Floridians are back to work in new jobs thanks to his unrelenting commitment to job creation in our state.”

The state’s unemployment rate is on par with the national unemployment rate. In February, the national employment rate was 4.9 percent, down 5.5 percent from a year earlier.

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