Florida unemployment rate dips to 3.4 percent

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Florida’s unemployment rate dropped slightly from March to April, according to numbers released Friday by the state Department of Economic Opportunity.

The 3.4 percent April rate, down from 3.5 percent in March, represented 357,000 Floridians out of work from a workforce of 10.3 million. That was a reduction of 3,000 unemployed people compared to March. The new numbers keep Florida below the national unemployment rate of 3.6 percent.

Among the categories of jobs that did well last month were education and health services and leisure and hospitality. Manufacturing and information-technology jobs showed declines.

Of the state’s 24 metropolitan statistical areas, 22 have seen gains over the past year, topped by the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford area, which added 44,600 jobs, a 3.5 percent increase. The Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall area grew by 27,800 jobs, a 2.3 percent increase, and the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area added 24,700 jobs, a 1.8 percent increase.

The Panama City area, which continues to recover from Hurricane Michael in October, was the only metro area to post job losses for the past year, down 1,900 positions, a 2.2 percent reduction. The Sebring area did not show a change over the year.

The unemployment rate in the Central Florida region (Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Sumter counties) was 2.7 percent in April 2019. This rate was 0.5 percentage point lower than the region's year ago rate of 3.2 percent. The labor force was 1,375,530, up 21,724 (+1.6) over the year. There were 37,673 unemployed residents in the region.