Florida unemployment rate drops to 11.1 percent
Gov. Rick Scott put his face on the news this morning that Florida's unemployment rate dropped to 11.1 percent in March. It's expected to remain one of the highest in the country, but represents a drop of 0.8 percent since the start of the year.
"While that number is still too high, that is the lowest unemployment rate we've seen in more than a year and represents a nearly 1 percent decrease since I became governor," Scott said.
Scott, who made job creation his central campaign promise, has not yet taken explicit credit for the drop, much of which was as long been anticipated by state economists. In November, economists said Florida would add 134,200 jobs in 2011. In February, economists adjusted that estimate to 132,000, or 11,000 jobs per month.
Florida has added 43,800 jobs in the first three months, according to the Agency for Workforce Innovation.
"We've seen an encouraging trend," Scott said. "We are clearly heading in the right direction, but we still have a long way to go."
Scott used the news to cajole lawmakers into approving his agenda, including cutting business regulations and taxes and giving him more control over the state's economic development functions.