- Associated Press - Friday, May 16, 2014

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida gained 34,000 jobs last month, which helped bring the state’s unemployment rate back down after it ticked up in March.

The strong job growth helped Florida have the third-highest gains in the nation, trailing only Texas and California, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The state’s overall unemployment rate for April was 6.2 percent, which was a slight decrease. But that means the unemployment rate has been the same rate for all but one month so far this year.

There were an estimated 599,000 people out of work in the state. Florida’s unemployment rate is just below the national unemployment rate.

Economists have said as people begin to look for work again it could make it harder for the state’s unemployment rate to have any more large drops like it has had in the last two years.

State economists have said a key reason for drops in the unemployment rate in 2012 and 2013 was that people left the labor force or had delayed their job search. But that is starting to change. The latest economic overview published by the Office of Economic and Demographic Research this week said that the labor participation rate has been increasing since last December.

“It appears that improving job prospects are encouraging people to rejoin the labor force,” the report said. “In this case, the slight uptick in the unemployment rate would be a strong indicator of an improving economy.”

Gov. Rick Scott, who has been caught up in a tough re-election fight, has made job creation the main theme of his time as governor. He touted the numbers on Friday as more proof that his policies have helped with the state’s economic recovery.

“We are another step toward making sure every Floridian who wants a job can get one,” Scott said.



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