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Unemployment Rate Drops Nationwide In Most States

03/14/2012 12:25 PM ET

The unemployment rate has hit a three-year low in most states across the United States. For example, Florida is showing steady improvement at 9.6 percent, the lowest since March 2009, the state said Tuesday. It was 9.9 percent in December.

Unemployment fell as low as 8.3 percent in Broward County, but the rate wasn’t so rosy on the report when it came to job creation. Florida lost 38,600 jobs from December to January, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Tuesday.

The one-month drop in jobs is not considered a trend, said state spokeswoman Nancy Blum. She said there have been similar fluctations in the past two years. For example, January 2011 initial reports showed a loss of 12,900 jobs, but revisions produced a gain of 22,900, the state said.

One reason the unemployment rate may have dropped this January is the number of people working or looking for work declined by 6,000. That means some unemployed people found work and others stopped looking, went back to school, retired or went on disability, Blum said.

Sean Snaith, economist for the University of Central Florida, said the trend continues to be a “gradual labor market recovery.”

Florida has been gaining jobs, adding 7,300 in December and 8,500 in November.

Since January 2011, Broward County has added jobs in leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, education and health services, professional and business services, and trade, transportation and utilities. The Fort Lauderdale metro area added more manufacturing jobs, 2,300, than any other in the state.

Palm Beach County has added jobs in retail, education and health, professional and business services, and the financial sector.

February’s unemployment and jobs numbers will be released March. 30.

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