Florida got some much needed good news as the latest data for April shows the state's unemployment rate fell to 8.7 percent, the lowest since January 2009.
The recent report from the state's Department of Economic Opportunity shows a decline from nine percent reported for March. Florida's unemployment rate however is still significantly above the national rate of 8.1 percent.
Experts attribute the decline in the state's unemployment rate, not entirely to the creation of new jobs, but partly to the influx of residents retiring in their sixties. The state report shows that Florida's civilian labor force declined by 28,000 in April.
On the other hand, over 52, 000 Floridians gained jobs during April, which marked an increase of 0.7 percent since April 2011. Meanwhile, 2,700 individuals lost their jobs, during the month, mainly in construction, wholesale trade, leisure and hospitality and local government.
South Florida also saw a decline. Broward County saw the lowest rate of unemployment at 7.2 percent, followed by Palm Beach County with 8.5 percent, and Miami-Dade County at 9.6 percent. The rate declined in all three counties slightly since March, at an average of 0.4 percent.
According to reports, job advertising has also increased slightly in recent months, with 243,000 jobs advertised online in Florida in April, which marks an addition of 7,000 positions.
The change, though slight, has arguably changed the atmosphere of the job market in South Florida.
Garth Broderick from Miramar who has been unemployed since last August, and seeking a job in administrative management, said he is more encouraged by the "quantity and quality" of job openings being advertized.
Gemina Willis, a 2011 college graduate from Miami, also recently landed a previously elusive position in marketing with a leading supermarket chain. Willis noted that since January, she has seen an average of ten positive job openings each month. She was also called in for seven interviews before accepting her job offer.
The employment situation in Broward County is particularly encouraging, as county data reveals positive movement in the crucial manufacturing sector, with 2,100 manufacturing jobs created over the past 12 months, which was more than any other county in the state.
Broward County has seen an 11-month growth in manufacturing jobs. But, despite the positive picture, these jobs in Broward County are still eight percent less than before the recession began in late 2007. The county's hospitality industry however has seen a two percent increase in jobs since 2007.
Since 2007, Miami-Dade lost some 6,600 manufacturing jobs from a total of 44, 000. The state's April report however showed some improvement for Miami-Dade, as only 800 manufacturing jobs were lost.