unemployment.jpgTALLAHASSEE (AP) _ Florida's unemployment rate leveled out at 10.7 percent in August, remaining at its highest level in 34 years.

The Agency for Workforce Innovation said Friday that 984,000 workers were unemployed in a Florida labor force of more than 9 million, compared with 987,000 in July. The August unemployment figure in Florida was a full percentage point above the national average of 9.7 percent.

Thirty-nine Florida counties recorded double-digit unemployment in August.

However, the report contained a glimmer of good news with 3,000 fewer folks on the street than the previous month and the unemployment rate one-tenth of a percentage point below July's adjusted 10.8 percent.

“The relative stability of Florida's unemployment rate over the past few months is encouraging,'' AWI Director Cynthia Lorenzo said.

Lorenzo added that she expected the state's job market would begin to show improvement next spring, but noted unemployment could reach 11 percent statewide before then.

Hendry County in southwest Florida led the state unemployment with one of six workers idled while Flagler County in east-central Florida close behind with a 15.7 percentage unemployment rate.

Lee County, where Fort Myers was hardest hit in the housing bust, had the highest unemployment among Florida's largest counties at 13.5 percent while Miami-Dade ranked 20th with 11.7 percent unemployment, representing more than 145,000 workers out of jobs.

Rural Liberty County in the Florida Panhandle continued to have the lowest unemployment with 5.6 percent. The counties with the lowest unemployment had a high percentage of government workers, reported increased summer tourism or hosted state prisons.