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Pinellas unemployment down 2.2 percent
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This chart shows the decline of unemployment in Florida and the United States. The blue line represents Florida and the United States in purple.
Unemployment in Pinellas County fell to 7.6 percent during the month of December, according to a Jan. 18 report from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

The December 2012 not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 2.2 percent lower than the 9.8 percent reported a year ago and 0.3 percent less than last month’s rate of 7.9 percent.

Statewide figures show a 1.8 percent drop from December 2011 with 9.7 percent unemployment to December 2012 with 7.9 percent. The U.S. unemployment rate was 7.6 percent, the same as Pinellas, and 0.7 percent less than last year.

The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro statistical area continued to lead a group of 12 of the state’s 22 metro areas with over-the-year job gains. The local MSA gained 21,000 jobs. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford MSA gained 18,000 jobs and Jacksonville gained 5,300 jobs.

The state reported an increase of 54,900 jobs. December was the 29th consecutive month with positive annual job growth. The industry reporting the most jobs was leisure and hospitality with 29,900 jobs, a 3.1 percent increase.

Trade, transportation and utilities reported an increase of 22,200 jobs, professional and business jobs increased by 18,100, and private education and health service jobs were up 13,200. Manufacturing reported an increase of 1,500 jobs.

Government jobs accounted for the most losses at 10,600, followed by construction at 6,800, other services at 4,600, information at 4,000 and financial activities at 4,000.

Pinellas County’s labor force declined slightly in December compared to November. In December, the labor force was 448,452 compared to 449,091 in November. The county’s labor force was 444,949 in December 2011, when 43,622 people were reported as unemployed. In December 2012, 34,058 were unemployed.

The local MSA reported a labor force of 1,326,558 in December 2012 and 1,316,051 in the same month of 2011. Of the 1,326,558, 104,245 people were unemployed. The state’s labor force was 9,303,000 with 733,000 unemployed. The U.S. labor force was 154,904,000 with 11,844,000 unemployed.

The local MSA includes Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties. Hernando County with 9.4 percent unemployment ranks has the seventh highest of the state’s 67 counties. Pasco County ranks No. 15 with 8.7 percent unemployment. Hillsborough, Pinellas and Desoto counties tied for the No. 37 rank with 7.6 percent unemployment.

Flagler County continues to hold the No. 1 spot with 11.2 percent unemployment, and Monroe County has the lowest rate at 4.5 percent.

The local MSA with 7.9 percent unemployment ranks No. 14 out of the 23 metro statistical areas and metropolitan divisions. The Palm Coast MSA had the highest unemployment at 11.2 percent and Crestview-Ft. Walton Beach-Destin had the lowest at 5.8 percent.

In a press release, Gov. Rick Scott said the state’s unemployment rate was the lowest rate in four years.

“Trends show that we are also experiencing growth in many different economic indicators that are key to job creation,” he said. “Housing starts are on the rise, businesses and families continue to move to Florida and more jobs are being created. The changes we are making to improve our state’s business climate are helping Florida families pursue the American dream.”

Florida Realtors report that the backlog of existing homes on the market was down by 41 percent from November 2011. Florida housing starts were up over the year in November (the most recent month available) by 48.8 percent and median home prices were up 11.2 percent over the year.

A recent U.S. Census Survey reported that Florida experienced an influx of people moving into the state. The survey showed that 59,288 moved from New York to Florida and 38,658 moved from Georgia to Florida migrations. Florida also led the nation in migrations from Puerto Rico.
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