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First Coast

More Than 22,000 New Jobs Created In Jax In 2019; State Unemployment Dips To 3.1%

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A vew of the Main Stree Bridge in Downtown Jacksonville.

Florida’s unemployment rate approached the end of 2019 at a historic low while Jacksonville has seen a robust number of new jobs created this year.

The Jacksonville area added 22,600 new private-sector jobs in the past year, creating the third-highest number of jobs among all Florida metro areas. The area’s unemployment rate was 2.6 percent in November, down 0.5 percentage point from one year ago, according to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office.

The statewide unemployment rate fell to 3.1 percent in November, down from 3.2 percent in October and putting it at a mark hit twice in the past 40 years, most recently in March 2006, according to  DeSantis’ office.

“Moving forward, I will continue to prioritize investments in Florida’s workforce and infrastructure to provide continued opportunities for our communities to be resilient and prepared for the future,” DeSantis said in a prepared statement.

When DeSantis was sworn into office in January, Florida’s unemployment rate stood at 3.5 percent, representing 352,000 Floridians out of work from a workforce of 10.3 million.

The seasonally adjusted figure for November remained below the national unemployment rate of 3.5 percent.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity reported 323,000 Floridians were out of work in November from a workforce of 10.5 million. Over the past year, the education and health-services sectors have had the largest growth, adding 62,300 new positions.

Fields involving leisure and hospitality were up 38,100 jobs. Professional and business services were up 33,600, while construction was up 26,700.

Regionally, the metropolitan statistical area from Miami to West Palm Beach posted the most new workers, with 40,100 added over the last year, a 1.5 percent increase. The Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford area added 36,700 new jobs in the past year, a 2.8 percent increase. And the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area added 30,800 new workers, an increase of 2.2 percent.

- WJCT’s Bill Bortzfield contributed to this report