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Florida unemployment rate for March hits 9.7%

At least Florida hasn't joined California and the other members of the double-digit unemployment club … yet.

The state's unemployment rate climbed to 9.7 percent in March, up from a revised rate of 9.6 percent a month earlier, according to figures released this morning by the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation. That translates to 893,000 jobless out of a labor force of 9.2 million.

The rate ties a record high under the current methodology for tracking unemployment set in the first three months of 1976. The last time the unemployment rate was higher was December 1975 when it was 10 percent, using a different methodology.

Florida continues to track well above the national average in shedding jobs during this recession. The national unemployment rate is currently at 8.5 percent, up from 8.1 percent in February.

In the Tampa Bay area, the unemployment rate rose to 10.4 percent, up from a revised rate of 10.3 percent a month ago. Hernando County continued to post the worst numbers in the region with a 12.9 percent rate.

Have you exhausted your unemployment benefits? Contact Jeff Harrington at jharrington@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8242.

March unemployment rate in the Tampa Bay area by county

Hernando: 12.9 percent

Pasco: 11.5 percent

Citrus: 11.4 percent

Pinellas: 10.3 percent

Hillsborough: 9.9 percent

Source: Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation

Florida unemployment rate for March hits 9.7% 04/16/09 [Last modified: Friday, April 17, 2009 10:56am]

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