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Jacksonville's unemployment falls to lowest of Florida metros

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Michael Conroy
/
AP
Unemployment in the Jacksonville area is lower than any other metro in the state.

The Jacksonville metro area recorded the lowest unemployment in the state in November, nearly reclaiming all of the ground lost to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unemployment stood at 3.3%, matching the rate in the Sarasota-Bradenton area and bettering the 4.5% rate statewide.

The Villages had the highest unemployment among Florida's 22 metro areas at 5%.

The state's rate is seasonally adjusted; the local rates are not.

Among counties, Duval County’s unemployment rate fell to 3.6% in November, Nassau County 2.9%, Clay County 3% and Baker County 3.2%. St. Johns County has the second-lowest unemployment among Florida counties at 2.6%, behind only Monroe County’s 2.2%.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity said the state lost 1.27 million jobs from February to April 2020 but has gained back 91% of them. All 10 major industries have gained jobs over the year, led by 134,800 jobs in leisure and hospitality, a 13.5% increase.

Gov. Ron DeSantis heralded the improvement during an appearance Friday at Ocala Regional Medical Center.

“We're holding down the fort here in Florida,” DeSantis said Friday during an appearance at Ocala Regional Medical Center. “We are going to continue to lead, and we're very proud of what we've been able to do.”

Randy comes to Jacksonville from the South Florida Sun Sentinel, where, as metro editor, he led investigative coverage of the Parkland school shooting that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for public service and was recognized as a Pulitzer finalist for breaking news. He has spent more than 40 years in reporting and editing positions in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio and Florida, including positions at the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, the Tampa Bay Times and the Plain Dealer in Cleveland, where he directed regional coverage and later business news. He is a graduate of Southern Illinois University, where he was editor of the daily student newspaper. You can reach Randy at rroguski@wjct.org or on Twitter, @rroguski.