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Pinellas’ unemployment drops to 5.7 percent
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Chart courtesy of FLORIDA DEO
State (shown in blue) and federal unemployment continues to fall with the state slightly outpacing the national rate. Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics Program, in cooperation with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Bureau of Labor Market Statistics.
Pinellas County’s unemployment rate dropped two full percentage points from December 2012 to December 2013.

The county’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December 2013 was 5.7 percent, compared to 6.1 percent in November and 7.7 percent in December 2012, according to a report released Jan. 24 from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

Unemployment for the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Metropolitan Statistical also dropped two percentage points as compared to December 2012, going from 7.9 percent to 5.9 percent for December 2013. The local MSA, which includes Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties, reported unemployment at 6.3 percent in November.

The state’s not seasonally adjusted rate also dropped, going from 7.8 percent in December 2012 to 5.9 percent for December 2013. The national not seasonally adjusted rate dropped from 7.6 percent in December 2012 to 6.5 percent compared to 6.5 percent in December 2013.

The local MSA continues to lead in over-the-year job gains reported by 20 of the state’s 22 metro areas. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater added 35,400 jobs, a 3 percent gain. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford came in second with 32,300 new jobs followed by Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall with 22,900 jobs.

Pinellas and Hillsborough counties tied for the No. 40 rank among the state’s 67 counties, as both reported unemployment of 5.7 percent. Hernando tied with Glades County for the No. 8 sport on the ranking list and Pasco County ranked No. 20.

Hendry County continues to report the highest unemployment in the state at 10.2 percent and is the only county with double-digit unemployment. Monroe County has the lowest unemployment rate at 3.5 percent.

Gov. Rick Scott pointed out in a press release that Florida’s unemployment rate has been lower than the national average since April 2013. The state added 13,500 private sector jobs in December 2013 and 462,100 private sector jobs have been added since December 2010.

Scott refers to the number of private sector jobs added; however, the report from DEO said that the counties with the lowest unemployment rates were those with “relatively high proportions” of government employment. The DEO report also said that Hendry County’s high unemployment was “mainly due” to long-term job losses in government employment.

Total government was the only major industry in the state reporting job losses, with 1,700 lost over the year in federal and state jobs.

The industry that added the most jobs was trade, transportation and utilities with 60,300, or 3.9 percent growth. Professional and business services added 37,400 jobs, construction, 28,800; leisure and hospitality, 24,500; private education and health services, 16,500; financial activities, 12,400; other services, 5,200; information, 5,000; and manufacturing, 4,400.

“The industry gains were partially due to increases in food and beverage stores; employment services; specialty trade contractors; food services and drinking places; ambulatory health care services; real estate; personal and laundry services; publishing industries, except internet; and fabricated metal product manufacturing,” the DEO report said.
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