Florida's Unemployment Rate Dips

Rebuilding of hurricane-ravaged areas helped Florida's July unemployment rate reach the lowest level since 2000.

The Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation credits the dip to 3.8 percent to the rebuilding effort and robust home construction.

By percentage, the Cape Coral-Fort Myers and Bradenton-Sarasota areas had the biggest job creation, boosting employment by 4.7 percent. Both areas were hit by Hurricane Charley last year and have seen growth in construction-type jobs.

The Fort Walton-Crestview-Destin area, pummeled by Hurricane Ivan, saw 4.3 percent job growth from July 2004 to July 2005. Employment in the Pensacola area grew over the year by 1.8 percent.

Walton County had the state's lowest unemployment rate, followed by neighboring Okaloosa County.

The agency says the rural south-central Florida counties of Hendry, Hardee and Okeechobee had the highest unemployment rates.

The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach area led the state in the total number of new jobs over the year, followed by Orlando and Tampa-St. Petersburg.