Manatee, Sarasota unemployment rates continue to drop

MANATEE - Employment in Florida continued its decisive path of recovery in March, pushing the state jobless rate to its lowest mark since January 2009.

Florida added 10,800 new jobs last month and now nearly 90,000 for the year, helping unemployment fall to a seasonally adjusted rate of 9 percent even in March - a 0.4 percentage-point decline from the previous month, according to figures released today by the labor department.

The trend was consistent in Manatee and Sarasota, which both saw their jobless rates slim drastically from February.

Manatee reported a 8.6 percent jobless rate in March, a 0.6 percentage-point decrease over the month before and 2.2 percentage point from the same time last year.

In Sarasota, the county’s unemployment rate dropped half a percentage point in March to reach 8.7 percent. A year ago, Sarasota’s unemployment rate was 10.7 percent, records show.

The region gained 2,300 jobs in March, but 26,132 laborers still remain out of work.

Economists hope the progress is a sign the job market has fulled turned the corner on the recession. The state’s unemployment rate has now dropped 13 of the last 15 months.

For more on this story, check later for updates.

@BR Shirttail:Josh Salman, Herald business writer, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter @JoshSalman