LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida's unemployment rate is staying flat.

State officials announced Friday that the state's jobless rate has remained at 7.1 percent for the third straight month. The state rate, however, remains below the national unemployment rate of 7.4 percent.

Gov. Rick Scott has used the state's unemployment rate as part of his re-election pitch for next year. The rate the last three months is the lowest it has been since the jobless rate was 7 percent in September 2008.

State economists, however, released an analysis this summer showing a reason for the unemployment decline has been people leaving the labor force or delaying their search for a job.

The latest numbers show there are 665,000 people out of work in Florida.