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Florida adds 33,400 jobs, but unemployment rate stays at 6.2 percent

The Sunshine State tallied 33,400 more jobs in February, but it wasn’t enough to nudge the unemployment rate, which remained at 6.2 percent, according to figures released Friday by the Department of Economic Opportunity.

The total number of unemployed rose by 5,000 to 588,000, but the overall labor pool increased by 58,000 to 9.5 million – signs of a return of more workers to the labor force after a recent trend of a dwindling labor force participation rate.

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Gov. Rick Scott heralded the numbers, but focused solely on the 32,100 private sector jobs added last month, ignoring the 1,300 public sector jobs added – most of which were state government jobs. Total public sector jobs are still down 1,000 positions over the last 12 months, however.

“It is clear that businesses are growing and creating more jobs and opportunities for Floridians. We are moving Florida’s opportunity economy forward and the addition of more than 32,000 private sector jobs in just last month is great news for Florida families. Let’s keep working so that every Floridian who wants a job can get one, so let’s keep working,” Scott said in a released statement.

The transportation, trade and utility sector has posted the most job gains since February 2013, adding 48,400 jobs in that time. The construction sector continues to rebound from the housing bust last decade, boosting its jobs by 39,200 – a jump of 11 percent in the last 12 months, good for the highest percentage growth of any industry.

Florida has added 211,500 jobs in the last 12 months, a job growth rate of 2.8 percent. The national unemployment rate is 6.7 percent and the national job growth rate is 1.6 percent.

Because two different surveys are used to calculate the jobs numbers, with one counting people and the other counting jobs, the jobless rate doesn’t always track with the jobs gained or lost in a given month.

Related Research: February 2014 employment figures and historical employment data from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity

Reporter Gray Rohrer can be reached at [email protected]

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