The unemployment rate for Manatee County dropped by three-tenths of a percentage point in December to 7.8 percent.
That's down from 8.1 percent in November, according to the state. The size of the workforce was almost identical, indicating the hiring environment is improving.
The county unemployment rate is not seasonally adjusted.
Statewide, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8 percent in December, the lowest since November 2008 when it was 7.8 percent. The statewide rate was 8.1 percent in November 2012.
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In Sarasota County, the unemployment rate in December was 7.8 percent, down from 8.2 percent in November.