Unemployment rate drops to single digits in Florida, Manatee

jsalman@bradenton.comJanuary 20, 2012 

MANATEE -- Gov. Rick Scott announced from the Bradenton Herald today that unemployment in Florida has slid into single digits for the first time in 2 1/2 years.

Florida’s jobless rate in December fell 0.1 percentage point over the month and 2.1 percentage points from the same time a year ago to reach 9.9 percent in December -- the lowest since April 2009, Scott said during a media conference call hosted at the Herald.

Florida’s unemployment rate now has declined or held steady 11 of the past 12 months, with a net gain of 130,000 new jobs over that time.

The trend was consistent in Manatee and Sarasota counties, which also are now down to single-digit unemployment.

Unemployment in Manatee dipped 0.4 percentage point from November to hit 9.8 percent last month. That figure represents a 2.4 percentage-point decline from December 2010, according to the state labor department.

In Sarasota, the county’s matching 9.8 percent unemployment rate in December was down 0.3 percentage point from the previous month and 2 percentage points even from a year ago, statistics show.

“This proves that the changes we’re implementing, with the help of the Florida Legislature, are working,” Scott said. “Florida’s employers are responding by putting people back to work ... It’s great to hear 130,000 families have jobs that didn’t have them last year. That changes their lives.”

Josh Salman, Herald business writer, can be reached at 941-745-7095.

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