Pinellas County’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March is down a full percentage point from March 2013, according to the reported released April 18 by Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
Pinellas reported a rate of 6.3 percent in 2014 and 7.3 percent in 2013. The county’s unemployment rate also is down slightly from February with a reported 6.4 percent. The report also reveals a growing labor force, up 10,446 from March 2013 and up 3,499 from February 2014.
The unemployment rate for the local metropolitan statistical area declined, going from 6.6 percent in February to 6.5 percent in March – a full percent lower than March 2013. The MSA’s labor force increased 31,773 over the year and 11,145 from February.
The local MSA includes Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties.
In 2013, the local MSA led the state in over-the-year job growth. Thus far, in 2014, it has come in third behind Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford with 33,300 new jobs, Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall with 32,900 jobs. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater reported 30,000 new jobs.
The Tampa Bay MSA was first in online job demand with 41,076 job openings, according to a press release from the governor’s office.
Pinellas County tied with Palm Beach, Volusia, Hillsborough and Gilchrist counties for the No. 31 rank by unemployment rate. Flagler County was No. 1 with the highest unemployment, 9.3 percent. Monroe and Walton counties had the lowest with 3.8 percent.
Hernando County, which is included in the local MSA, reported the fourth highest rate, 8.5 percent. Pasco County ranked No. 17 with 7.2 percent unemployment.
The March report wasn’t as good for the state. The not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate went up from 6.3 percent in February to 6.4 percent in March. Still, unemployment is down a full percentage point from March 2013 when the state reported a rate of 7.4 percent.
The national unemployment not seasonally adjusted rate dropped from 7.0 percent in February to 6.8 percent in March. The rate reported in March 2013 was 7.6 percent.
The industry that gained the most jobs in the state thus far this year is professional and business services with an increase of 48,000. Trade, transportation and utilities came in second with 47,500 jobs, followed by leisure and hospitality with 42,100 jobs and construction with 41,000 new jobs. Government reported the fewest new jobs, only 300.
In the Tampa Bay region, professional and business services also led the way in job growth with 9,000 new jobs, followed by trade, transportation and utilities, which added 6,400 jobs; manufacturing with 4,100 jobs; and education and health services with 4,100 jobs.