A federal government survey released Wednesday shows that Florida’s unemployment rate has dropped slightly to 6.6 percent, but it still remains below the national average of 7.8 percent.
The report, which comes just days before Florida voters are slated to cast ballots in the November election, showed that more than 4.3 million people applied for unemployment benefits in the state last month.
The drop in unemployment was largely attributed to a small spike in the number of people who left the labor force, but the number has been trending downward since last summer.
The number of Americans who are unemployed declined by 3.4 million to 6 million last month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But the state unemployment rate is still above the national unemployment rate of 7 percent, which means Florida’s overall unemployment rate remains significantly higher than the national rate.
The state unemployment report comes just two days before voters will be asked to approve or reject a $15 minimum wage increase, which has been one of the most hotly debated issues in the presidential race.
The proposed increase is estimated to add more than $500 million to the state’s economy.
The proposal is the second-highest priority issue in the upcoming presidential campaign, according, according the National Institute on Money in State Politics.
The national unemployment report, meanwhile, shows that the unemployment rate for Americans who have been out of the labor market for longer than 12 months fell to 6 percent, a record low.
The unemployment rate dropped in both February and March, though, as more people returned to the workforce and as more companies moved jobs offshore.
The numbers also showed that the number who were out of work declined to 7.1 percent, the lowest level since January.
Florida’s economy, however, has continued to improve over the past several years, and the state continues to see a steady increase in hiring.
Florida also has seen a steady decline in the unemployment rates of other states.
While the unemployment figure fell from a high of 9.4 percent in 2013 to 7 percent in 2017, the unemployment numbers for the nation as a whole fell to 8.9 percent in January and 8.5 percent in February.