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Florida unemployment rate fell again in December

— Florida’s unemployment rate remained nearly flat for December and fell only slightly during 2014.

Gov. Rick Scott announced Friday that the state added 11,500 private-sector jobs in December. The number of jobs created in November was adjusted up to 39,000, 1,300 more than reported last month.

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.6 percent in December 2014, down just 0.2 percentage points from November. The unemployment rate for December 2013 was 5.8 percent.

The Tampa metro area had slightly better news. The unemployment level stood at 5.5 percent for December, according to the report released Friday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. That is down from 5.9 percent in November and from 6.0 percent in December 2013.

Breaking it down further, Hillsborough County fared slightly better than the state, experiencing a slight drop in the unemployment rate to 5.2 percent in December 2014, from 5.7 percent in November. The rate was 5.8 percent in December 2013.

In Pinellas County, December’s unemployment rate was 5.3 percent, down slightly from 5.6 percent in November and 5.8 percent a year ago.

Pasco County’s jobless rate was 6.2 percent in December, down 0.4 percentage points from November and down from where it stood a year ago, at 6.8 percent.

Hernando County continues to see higher jobless rates, with unemployment at 6.9 percent in December 2014. It has dropped, however, from 7.4 percent in November and from 7.6 percent in December 2013.

Polk County saw a 6.1 percent unemployment rate in December, compared to 6.6 percent in November and 6.8 percent in December 2013.

Florida’s annual job growth rate has exceeded that of the nation since April 2012, the state report says. December’s private-sector job growth month-to-month has been positive for 46 of the last 49 months.

“With these strong December numbers, we now have the complete picture of Florida’s economic turnaround these past four years,” said Jesse Panuccio, executive director of the Department of Economic Opportunity.

yhammett@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7127

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