The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity reported Friday that the state’s “seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in December 2011 was 9.9 percent,” a drop of 0.1 percent compared with November.

The Economic Opportunity report (.pdf) indicates that “this represented 913,000 jobless out of a labor force of 9,233,000″ and “was 2.1 percentage points lower than the December 2010 rate of 12.0 percent.” It adds that “Florida’s unemployment rate has been higher than the nation since February 2008.”

The Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy at Florida International University said in December that “unemployment has been consistently decreasing since the end of 2010, but labor force participation rates have been decreasing as well. At the end of 2010, the labor force participation rate was 62.7%, but by October 2011, the percentage of working-age population in Florida looking for jobs decreased to 61.8%.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics issued a report in January that put the U.S unemployment rate at 8.5 percent.

Florida’s December unemployment report also shows that:

  • The number of jobs in Florida was almost 7.3 million in December 2011, up 113,900 jobs compared to a year ago: “December was the fifteenth consecutive month with positive annual job growth after the state lost jobs for over three years.”
  • The trade, transportation and utilities industry added the largest number of jobs (37,200 jobs) through 2011.
  • The leisure and hospitality industries added 30,400 jobs; private education and health services added 27,300 jobs; professional and business services added 15,200 jobs; financial activities added 8,700 jobs; and manufacturing added 5,600 jobs.
  • In 2011, 7,900 government  jobs, 3,400 jobs in the information industry and 1,000 construction jobs were lost.

The report indicates that metro areas with the largest increase in employment were Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall and Jacksonville.

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