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Economy / Business

Unemployment Rate in Florida Falls to 9 Percent

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The unemployment rate in Florida dropped from 9.4% in February to 9% in March, acorrding to the Tampa Bay Times. States officials say that is the biggest improvement month-to-month in about 10 years.

But it may not all be as good as it seems.

The state's labor force is still shrinking. Last month, about 15,000 Floridians have dropped out of the labor pool and experts are saying many of them are discouraged workers who have given up looking for a job. When they go back to the search, the unemployment rate could rise again.

Chief economist with Raymond James Financial Scott Brown told the Tampa Bay Times that even though it's easier for small businesses to get loans and the housing market is improving, it's not all happy dandy.

"But the big drop in the unemployment rate is because people left the labor force as their unemployment benefits expired," Brown said. In order to receive unemployment compensation, jobless applicants have to document that they are actively seeking work.

The Tampa Bay area fell to the second-biggest job creator in the state falling behind Miami. Tampa Bay added 20,200 jobs and Miami added 23,400 jobs.

For county-by-county unemployment rates, click here.