For jobs, 2012 was a year of progress in Florida.
The state's unemployment rate continued its decline in December to 8.0 percent, after reaching another four-year low of 8.1 percent in November, the state said Friday. A year ago the rate was 9.9 percent.
The year closed with the unemployment rate falling below the 8.7 percent that Florida forecasters had predicted. More jobs opened up during 2012 and fewer companies had big layoffs.
Even Florida's construction industry made strides in employment with more housing starts and commercial and industrial projects moving forward.
The economic recovery, even in hard hit Florida, was more than rhetoric with evidence of jobs being gained in the state and region.
Florida added 54,900 jobs since December 2011 Leisure and hospitality industry gained the most jobs, nearly 30,000 or 3.1 percent.
In Broward County, December's unemployment rate was 6.7, down from November's 7.0 percent, which was the lowest level since December 2008 when it was 6.7 percent.
Palm Beach County's jobless rate was 8.0 percent in December, down from a upwardly revised rate of 8.4 percent for November, which had been 8.3 percent.
Despite the improving economy, Florida still has many long-term unemployed. Nearly 40 percent of the unemployed have been without jobs for a year and 13 percent for six months or more, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
There were 749,000 jobless Floridians in December out of a labor force of 9.35 million, the state said.
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