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First Coast counties experience fall in unemployement rate

The First Coast unemployment rate has fallen below six percent for the first time since 2008, according to a University of North Florida economist.

Paul Mason reports the market survey area of Duval, St. Johns, Nassau, Baker and Clay counties saw a sharp drop in the jobless rate in November. The figure fell to 5.86 percent last month, down from the 6.3 percent jobless figure in October.

“It’s excellent news,” Mason said Friday. “I wouldn’t consider that full employment. But there are some at the national level that would consider that full employment that if the national level got down to that would consider that full employment. … I would say we’re still 1 percent to a half percent from full employment.”

The Duval county jobless rate is still higher than the rest of the First Coast coming in at a 6.55 percent unemployment figure for November.

The total First Coast jobless figure is lower than the Florida unemployment rate for November which is 6.4 percent, down from 6.7 percent in October. It’s the lowest state unemployment rate since July of 2008.

All the local and state figures are below the national seven percent unemployment rate, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Gov. Rick Scott said the news was good timing for Floridians during the holiday season.

“The addition of more than 11,000 new jobs in Jacksonville means more individuals will be able to provide for their families during the holidays. While this is great news, we’ll continue working hard to grow jobs for families in Northeast Florida,” Scott said in a news release.