State unemployment drops to 8 percent in December
Drops in Lee, Collier & Charlotte
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Although slowly, Florida's unemployment numbers continue to improve.
State labor officials said Friday that the unemployment rate dipped to 8 percent in December, an improvement of one-tenth of a percentage point from November's 8.1 percent figure.
Florida unemployment now stands at its lowest level since it was at 7.8 percent in November 2008. The state's unemployment rate fell below 10 percent for the first time in nearly three years in December 2011 and has continued to slowly improve since although 749,000 workers remain jobless.
Gov. Rick Scott, who has staked his re-election chances on creating jobs, said Friday the figures show the state is headed in the right direction.
Improving home sales, rising home values and a resilient stock market have buoyed improving consumer confidence in Florida in recent months.
The jobless rate fell across Southwest Florida. Unemployment in Lee County fell from 8.3 percent to 8 percent in December. The rate in Collier County dropped month to month from 7.8 percent to 7.3 percent and in Charlotte the decline was from 8.4 percent to 8 percent.