Fla. unemployment rate hits lowest mark since 2008

Associated Press Published: November 16, 2012

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida's unemployed rate dipped to 8.5 percent in October, its lowest mark in nearly four years, the Department of Economic Opportunity reported Friday.

The figure — the first since President Barack Obama's re-election last week — was an improvement from September's 8.7 percent unemployment in Florida, but remained six-tenths of a percentage point higher than the national average of 7.9 percent. Although it's the lowest unemployment rate in Florida since December 2008, there are still 790,000 eligible workers without a job.

Unemployment and job creation were a major part of the debate between Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.

It's also the hallmark of Florida Gov. Rick Scott, whose political future could hang in the balance on his 2010 campaign promise to create 700,000 new jobs in Florida in seven years.

"My number one goal is to create jobs for Florida families and get this state back to work," Scott said Friday. "There is still more work that needs to be done, but I'm confident we're on the right path."