Florida's unemployment rate increased to 8.8 percent in July

 TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida's unemployment rate increased to 8.8 percent in July.

   It was the first time in several months that unemployment rate worsened in Florida.  The state's unemployment rate stood at 8.6 percent in June for a second straight month.

   Broward County's rate rose to 8.1 percent from a revised 7.8 percent in June. Palm Beach County's rate was 9.8 percent, up from 9.2 percent in June. Indian River increased to 12.2% from 11.4 in June. Martin County jumped to 9.8% from 9.0 the previous month. Okeechobee County notched 11.1 percent unemployment. In June it was 10.4 percent. And St. Lucie County rose to 12.6 percent from 11.9.

   Florida's July figures were half a percentage point higher than the national average of 8.3 percent.

   Florida Gov. Rick Scott has made job creation the hallmark of his administration. He's touted Florida's improving job market numbers in past months to the chagrin of Republican colleagues who worry his enthusiasm serves to boost President Barack Obama's chances to carry Florida's 29 electoral votes in November.

   Scott was in Tampa on Friday to help celebrate the opening of a new business that hopes to add 300 employees.

   Florida's 8.8 percent unemployment represents 816,000 unemployed out of a labor force of 7.3 million.

The Sun Sentinel and wptv.com web team contributed to this report


  July June
BROWARD 8.1% 7.8%
INDIAN RIVER 12.2% 11.4%
MARTIN 9.8% 9.0%
OKEECHOBEE 11.1% 10.4%
PALM BEACH 9.8% 9.2%
ST. LUCIE 12.6% 11.9%
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