JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Florida Governor Rick Scott visited the Jacksonville Metropolitan Statistical Area Friday.

During Scott's visit to the Unison Industries, which is owned by General Electric, he highlighted the increase of 17,900 non-agricultural jobs in July 2013 compared to a year ago.

The area also experienced a decrease in the local unemployment rate of 1.9 percent, from 8.9 percent in July 2012.

"With the addition of 17,900 new jobs and a decreasing unemployment rate in the Jacksonville area, it is clear that Florida families are getting back to work. The policies we have put into place over the last two and a half years are working in Jacksonville and all across the Sunshine State," said Scott.

The area, consisting of Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties, added the most jobs of all the state's metro areas in professional and business services with 9,400 new jobs.

Jacksonvilleranked third in the state for gains in total non-agricultural employment through the year with an increase of 17,900 jobs.

Jacksonville also ranked in the top four metro areas in the state for job growth in the following industries:

  • Construction
  • Financial Activities
  • Professional and Business Services
  • Trade, Transportation and Utilities

In July 2013, Jacksonville was among the top four metro areas in Florida for online job demand with 23,324 openings and also ranked number four for science, technology, engineering and mathematics job openings with 4,558 job ads.

Florida has experienced positive annual job growth for 36 consecutive months, which adds up to 369,100 new private sector jobs created since December 2010.

Since Governor Scott took office, Florida's statewide unemployment rate has dropped 4 percent, from a rate of 11.1 percent to July's rate of 7.1 percent, while the national unemployment rate has dropped 1.9 percent.

Florida's unemployment rate has now declined year-over-year for 33 consecutive months.