Florida's unemployment rate fell from 8.8 percent in August to 8.7 percent in September, marking the first time in three months that the rate dropped.
The rate remains just above the recent low of 8.6 percent in May, and down from 10.4 percent in September 2011.
The state added 800 net jobs in September. About 808,000 people remained out of work.
The state's overall workforce expanded by 37,000 people to 9.3 million, a sign that more people might be coming off the sidelines and looking for work.
Sectors adding jobs from August to September included education and leisure and hospitality. Construction also added jobs, up by about 4,200 to 313,200, though that remains below September 2011, and way down from the peak during the mid 2000s building boom.
The government sector, one of the hardest hit during the economic downturn, lost jobs again, shedding about 2,700.
Local counties – Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus – all recorded drops in their unemployment rates from August to September. Hernando remained the highest at 10.4 percent; Pinellas the lowest at 8.4 percent, just ahead of Hillsborough at 8.6 percent.
The rate in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area fell from 9.1 percent to 8.7 percent.
Unlike the state figures, the local rates are not seasonally adjusted, so they are subject to larger swings from month to month.
The national unemployment rate in September was 7.8 percent.
Nationwide, 41 states and the District of Columbia recorded unemployment rate decreases, six states posted rate increases, and three states had no change, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said.
Nevada continued to record the highest unemployment rate among the states, 11.8 percent in September. Rhode Island and California posted the next highest rates, 10.5 and 10.2 percent, respectively. In all, 12 states reported higher jobless rates than Florida. North Dakota's rate was lowest at 3 percent.
Over the year, the five states with job increases larger than Florida were Texas (+262,700), followed by California (+262,000), New York (+125,000), Ohio (+88,700) and Indiana (+65,100). Just one state, West Virginia, saw its employment decrease (-10,000).