Unemployment drops to 9.5 percent in Palm Coast metropolitan area

Palm Coast, Fla. – Unemployment in the Palm Coast metropolitan area (Flagler County) dropped to 9.5 percent in March – the first time unemployment has dipped into a single digit since June 2008, according to figures released Friday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

The Palm Coast metropolitan area now has 4,116 more people employed than at the low point in January 2010.

“This is great news,” said Palm Coast Mayor Jon Netts. “These numbers show a sustained positive trend that, along with other indicators – rising taxable sales, decreasing foreclosures and an increase in housing starts – point to a bright future in Palm Coast. Our local economy is moving in the right direction.”

The improved unemployment figures and other positive economic indicators are the result of a community-wide, diversified economic development strategy.

“The Mayor and City Council took the lead to diversify our economic development efforts so we could grow our economy,” said Beau Falgout, the City’s senior economic development planner.

In 2011, the City adopted “Prosperity 2021: Our Plan for Growing the Local Economy.” The Business Assistance Center, a partnership between the City of Palm Coast and the University of Central Florida Small Business Development Center, opened in 2011 with the mission to help grow local businesses “one job at a time.” Other major initiatives of Prosperity 2021 include maintaining the quality of Palm Coast’s neighborhoods, helping existing businesses and attracting new investment by offering events and attracting sports tournaments.

“The City’s efforts complement the economic development work of Flagler County’s Department of Economic Opportunity and Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches’ Tourist Development Council,” Falgout said. “And, of course, credit must be given to our business owners and entrepreneurs who are working so hard to grow their businesses and further lower the unemployment rate by hiring more people.”

Friday’s announcement of single-digit unemployment in Palm Coast comes just days after 24/7 Wall Street, a global investment website, announced that Palm Coast is No. 1 in the nation for unemployment decline over the past year.
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