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Florida’s jobless rate holds at 5.7 percent

Florida's seasonably adjusted unemployment rate was 5.7 percent in March, unchanged from the previous month's revised rate, which the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (FDEO) had earlier reported as 5.6 percent. The U.S. unemployment rate, meanwhile, remained at 5.5 percent in March. These latest released jobless figures show Madison County's rate dropping 0.4 percentage point, from 6.8 percent in February to 6.4 percent in March and Jefferson County's rate remaining at 5.9 percent, the same as the previous month. Statewide, 548,000 Floridians were jobless in March out of a labor force of 9,022,900 -- not counting those who had given up the job search, were underemployed, or employed part time. Florida's seasonally adjusted total nonagricultural employment, meanwhile, was 8,990,200 in March -- an increase of 30,600 jobs over the month, according to the FDEO. Seasonally adjusted means the numbers have been purged of all seasonal and other factors that could skew the results. The numbers for the individual counties, however, were not seasonally adjusted. For Madison County, the 6.4 percent translates into 484 jobless persons out of a labor force of 7,561, compared with 516 jobless persons out of a labor force of 7,624 in February, when the rate was 6.8 percent. All told, 7,077 people were employed in Madison County in March, compared with 7,108 in February. In March 2014, the comparable figures were 607 jobless persons out of a labor force of 7,757 and 7,150 employed when the unemployment rate was 7.8 percent. For Jefferson County, the 5.9 percent translates into 327 jobless persons out of a labor force of 5,516, compared with 327 jobless persons out of a labor force of 5,537 in February when the rate was also 5.9 percent. All told, 5,189 people were employed in Jefferson County in March, compared with 5,210 in February. In March 2014, the comparable figures were 369 jobless persons out of a workforce of 5,531 and 5,162 employed when the unemployment rate was 6.7 percent. Statewide, the industry gaining the most jobs was leisure and hospitality, up 54,800 jobs; followed by trade, transportation and utilities, up 54,700 jobs; professional and business services, up 49,600 jobs; private education and health services, up 47,600 jobs; construction, up 37,400 jobs; financial activities, up 14,700 jobs; other services, up 14,500 jobs; government, up 7,500 jobs; and manufacturing, up 4,700 jobs. The information sector continued to lose jobs over the year; it was down minus 1,300 jobs. Monroe County continued to have the state's lowest unemployment rate at 3.8 percent, followed by St. Johns County at 4.0 percent; and Wakulla, Okaloosa and Alachua counties at 4.6 percent. Putnam County continued to have the state's highest unemployment rate at 8.0 percent, followed by Citrus County at 7.6 percent; Hendry and Sumter counties at 7.4 percent; and Gadsden County at 7.1 percent. No county had a double-digit unemployment rate in March, according to the FDEO.

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