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Florida's unemployment rate ticked down to 3.2 percent in September, the state reported Friday. The rate, down from 3.3 percent in August, represented an estimated 336,000 Floridians out of work from a workforce of 10.4 million, according to numbers released by the state Department of Economic Opportunity.
The seasonally adjusted figure, compared to a national rate of 3.5 percent for September, included a reduction in the number of Floridians out of work by 6,000 from the August numbers and 7,000 from a year earlier.
The gains were bolstered by growth in the workforce by 34,000 from August to September and by 154,000 from September 2018. Education and health services accounted for 59,600 new jobs over the past year, followed by 49,200 jobs in professional and business services and 30,300 jobs in fields involving leisure and hospitality. Construction has grown by 16,200 jobs over the past year, with manufacturing positions up 7,700.
Regionally, the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford metropolitan statistical area had the largest growth over the past year at 48,800 jobs. September 2019 marked 54 consecutive months of the Orlando area having the highest job creation in the state, adding 45,600 new private-sector jobs in the past year, the state reported on the governor's website
. The unemployment rate in the Orlando area was 2.8 percent in September, down 0.2 percentage point from one year ago.
The report notes the industry with the highest growth over the year in the Orlando area was professional and business services, with 21,100 new jobs.
In September, the Orlando area was second among state metro areas in job demand with 48,360 job openings. Orlando also remained the second-highest metro area in demand for high-skill, high-wage STEM occupations with 14,923 openings.
Over the past year, only the Panama City and Sebring statistical areas showed job losses. The Panama City area, which was hit by Category 5 Hurricane Michael in October 2018, was down 2,000 jobs from September 2018. The Sebring area was off 200 jobs in the same period.
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