This graph shows a comparison of Florida (blue) and United States (purple) unemployment rates from April 2004 to April 2014. 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 not seasonally adjusted unemployment numbers continue on a downward slide with April down to 5.7 percent, falling from 6.3 percent in March and 7.1 percent in April 2013, according to the May 16 report from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
April unemployment in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Metropolitan Area also decreased to 5.9 percent, down from 6.5 percent in March and 7.2 percent in April 2013. The local MSA includes Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties.
State numbers follow the trend with April coming in at 5.7 percent compared to last month at 6.4 percent and April 2013 at 7.1 percent. Nationally, the not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is down to 5.9 percent compared to 6.8 percent in March and 7.1 percent in April 2013.
According to the DEO, the state’s unemployment rate has remained below the national rate for nine consecutive months.
Pinellas tied with Martin, Volusia, Desoto, Lafayette counties for the rank of 29 out of 67 counties. Of the other counties in the local MSA, Hernando ranked No. 5 with 7.6 percent unemployment, followed by Pasco, which tied with Taylor, Okeechobee, Highlands and Gadsden, for the No. 15 rank with 6.5 percent unemployment. Hillsborough County tied with Palm Beach and Columbia counties for No. 34 with 5.6 percent unemployment.
Hendry County continues to hold the No. 1 rank with 8.4 percent unemployment. Walton County ranks No. 67 with only 3.2 percent unemployment.
The local MSA holds the third spot for the most over-the-year job growth among the state’s 22 metro areas. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford is No. 1 with 47,200 new jobs, followed by Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall with 34,600 jobs. Pinellas added 30,900 new jobs. Thus far, the only MSA showing a decline in jobs over the year is Ocala, showing a loss of 200.
Gov. Rick Scott said Florida’s private sector had created 33,700 jobs during April. He said the state’s labor force had increased for the fourth month in a row.
However, Pinellas County’s labor force decreased slightly compared to March. In April, the county’s labor force was 448,588 as compared to March at 451,894. The county’s labor force in April 2013 was 441,544. In April, 25,353 were unemployed, compared to 28,605 in March and 31,146 in April 2013.
Professional and business services is the industry that added the most jobs in April, 56,200, followed by leisure and hospitality with 54,500 jobs, and trade, transportation and utilities with 47,000.
The state’s construction industry, which showed a huge decline in jobs during the height of the Great Recession, came in fourth with an addition of 43,300 jobs. Private education and health services, previously among the top job growth industries, added 21,100 jobs in April.
Only one industry continues to show a decline in job numbers. Total government lost another 2,000 jobs in April due to labor force changes at the state and local level, according to the DEO, which noted that many of the state’s counties with the lowest unemployment rates are those with higher proportions of government employees.