Governor Scott Highlights Economic Growth

Jacksonville metro area has the lowest unemployment rate in four years

Governor Rick Scott highlighted that the Jacksonville Metropolitan Statistical Area’s (MSA) unemployment rate dropped to a four-year low of 7.4 percent, a decline of 1.8 percentage points from the year ago rate of 9.2 percent. The MSA, consisting of Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties, experienced an unemployment rate drop of 2.9 percentage points from the December 2010 rate of 10.3 percent.

Governor Rick Scott said, “We’re seeing continued economic growth in communities throughout the state, highlighted by an improving housing market and a decline in unemployment. I’m committed to recruiting new businesses to Florida and providing our state’s skilled and talented workforce with more opportunities to find employment, provide for their families and pursue the American dream.”

Representative Hutson, Chair of the St. Johns County Legislative Delegation, said, “Governor Scott understands that small business and the private-sector create jobs, not government. By getting government out of the way of small business, Governor Scott has helped Florida’s economy grow.”

Representative Charles McBurney-Chair of the Duval County Delegation, said, “It is great news that Jacksonville’s unemployment rate is at a four year low. I am proud of the hard work that Governor Scott, along with the Florida Legislature, has done to help make today’s announcement possible.”

Cathy Chambers, JAXUSA Partnership Executive Vice President, said, “We are proud of the significant improvements our region has made in job creation and growing our economy by making Northeast Florida more attractive to employers looking to start, move or expand their business. We thank Governor Scott for his leadership and support of our efforts to make our region more economically diverse and provide opportunities for our residents.”

Senator John Thrasher, Vice Chair of the St. Johns County Legislative Delegation, said, “It is important to understand small business and the private-sector create jobs, not government. By getting government out of the way of small business, Governor Scott has helped Florida’s economy grow.”

Among the five counties that comprise the region, Baker County led the way in over the year declines in the unemployment rate with a decrease of 3.4 percentage points, going from 10.1 percent to 6.7 percent, while St. Johns County’s rate went from 8.2 percent to 6.2 percent, Duval County dropped from 9.6 percent to 7.8 percent, Clay County’s rate declined from 8.5 percent to 6.8 percent, and Nassau County’s rate went from 8.8 percent to 7.2 percent.

In addition to the drop in its unemployment rate, the Jacksonville MSA ranked third in the state for gains in total nonagricultural employment over the year with an increase of 5,300 jobs. The Jacksonville MSA, along with the Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall metro area, added the most jobs over the year in financial activities with 1,200 jobs.

Housing starts were up in the Jacksonville MSA in November 2012 (the latest available data) over the year at 90.6 percent. Also, the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey for the first quarter of 2013 indicated that Jacksonville area employers expect to continue hiring.

Also in December, WorkSource along with the state’s other 23 Regional Workforce Boards reported more than 42,000 Floridians were placed in jobs. An individual who receives employment and training assistance through a One-Stop Career Center and finds a job within 180 days is deemed a placement and may be reported by a regional workforce board. Of these individuals, 12,372 previously received Reemployment Assistance. In 2012, more than 426,000 Floridians were placed in jobs, with nearly 111,173 former claimants finding employment.

Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 8.0 percent for the month of December – down 0.1 percentage point from last month and the lowest since November 2008. The December 2012 rate was 1.9 percentage points lower than the year-ago rate of 9.9 percent. Since December 2010, the state’s unemployment rate has dropped 3.1 percentage points.

To view the December 2012 monthly employment data, visit:

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity combines the state’s economic, workforce and community development efforts. This new approach helps expedite economic development projects to fuel job creation in competitive communities. For more information, including valuable resources for employers and job seekers, please visit


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