Florida’s unemployment rate dipped to its lowest rate in nearly a decade in April, state officials announced Friday.
The state Department of Economic Opportunity announced the unemployment rate dipped to 4.5 percent in April, down from 4.8 percent one month earlier. The drop marks one of the lowest rates since September 2007, and is only slightly higher than the national unemployment rate of 4.4 percent.
The Tampa Bay-area led the state when it came to job demand, with 47,412 job openings. It also ranked first in the state for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) openings with 14,898 openings in April.
The region’s unemployment rate was 3.8 percent in April.
Of the Tampa Bay numbers, Gov. Rick Scott said: “It is great news that Tampa area businesses created nearly 32,000 jobs over the year in April. The Tampa area also led the state in job openings, which means there are thousands of opportunities for Floridians to find the opportunities they need to succeed in Tampa Bay. We will keep fighting to make Tampa, and our entire state, a top destination for job growth.”
“Florida businesses have excelled over the past six years thanks to the policies of Gov. Scott and his administration,” said Cissy Proctor, the executive director of the DEO, in a statement. “Unemployment continues to drop, private sector jobs are on the rise and Florida families are flourishing. We must not give up on our efforts to make Florida the best place to start and grow a business.”
The DEO reported there were more than 8.5 million jobs in April, up 215,400 jobs compared to a year ago.
Professional and business services saw the largest growth, adding 39,500 jobs over the year in April; followed by trade, transportation and utilities with 36,600 new jobs; construction with 34,400 new jobs; and education and health services with 32,700 jobs.
Twenty-three of the state’s 24 metro areas saw over-the-year jobs gains, according to the DEO.
Orlando once again led the state in job creation, adding 42,700 private-sector jobs year-over-year in April. The unemployment rate in the Orlando metro area was 3.6 percent.
“I am proud to announce today that the Orlando area continues to lead the state in job creation, which is great news for families and business in Central Florida,” said Scott in a statement. “Florida’s unemployment rate has also reached a nearly 10-year low, which is sending a message across the country that our state is a top destination for new jobs and opportunities.”
Leisure and hospitality saw the largest growth, with 13,400 new jobs; followed by trade, transportation and utilities with 8,800 new jobs; financial activities with 4,800 new jobs; and manufacturing with 1,600.
The Orlando-area was second among metro areas for job demand, with 37,024 job openings.
Scott is expected to highlight the job numbers during an event in Miami later today.