People fill out applications while attending a job fair.
TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- Florida matched its highest-ever unemployment rate in January at 11.9 percent with 1.1 million Floridians out of work.
The figures released this morning showed a 0.2 point increase in the jobless rate from December. The unemployment rate was 3.2 percentage points higher than the year previous. Florida's jobless rate is higher than the national 9.7 percent rate.
More than 300,000 jobs have been lost in Florida in the last year as the real estate bust and recession took its toll. Construction was where the most jobs were lost, with 90,700 disappearing.
The figures released Wednesday matched Florida's 11.9 percent unemployment rate from May 1975, the highest ever recorded.
State jobs officials pointed to jobs that will be available with the U.S. Census Bureau, with its work to begin in earnest next month. The Agency for Workforce Innovation said it expects the Census will employ more than 63,700 people between now and September. The agency said part- and full-time jobs with the Census pay between $9 and $16.
Tiny Liberty County had the lowest unemployment rate in January at 7.5 percent. State-government heavy Leon County had the third-lowest rate at 8.5 percent.
Flagler County led the state in unemployment at 17.1 percent. In January, 57 of Florida's 67 counties had an unemployment rate at 10 percent or higher.
Paul Flemming, Florida Capital Bureau