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Economy / Business

State Jobless Rate Unchanged in February

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Florida’s unemployment rate is no longer dropping like it once did.

The state’s jobless rate in February was 6.2 percent, which is the same rate it was the two previous months.

The unemployment rate held steady even though the state gained an estimated 33,400 jobs last month. Only California and Texas gained more jobs in February.

Gov. Rick Scott stressed the job gains on Friday during a trip to Tampa. He says the latest numbers continue to show that businesses are growing in the state. Scott maintains his policies since becoming governor in 2011 have helped the state’s economy recover.

But state economists have said a big reason for the unemployment rate decline is that people are leaving the labor force or had delayed their job search.

Nationally, unemployment rates fell in most states and two-thirds of the states reported job gains.

The Labor Department said unemployment rates dropped in 29 states, rose in 10 and was unchanged in the remaining 11. Meanwhile, hiring rose in 33 states and fell in 17.

The rate declines occurred even though unemployment rose nationwide, to 6.7 percent from 6.6 percent. That increase occurred partly because more Americans began looking for work, though most weren’t immediately hired. But the fact that they started looking suggests they were optimistic about their prospects.

Employers added 175,000 jobs nationwide, close to the average monthly gains of the past two years.