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Unemployment on the rise in Pinellas
Statistics still an improvement compared to 2013
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Graph courtesy Florida DEO
Despite a slight uptick in unemployment for the month of May, rates are still on a downward trend in Florida and nationwide, according to information from state and federal sources.
Pinellas County’s not-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate is up to 5.9 percent in May compared to 5.7 percent in April. The rate is still down appreciably from 7.1 percent reported in May 2013.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity released May’s figures June 20.

Statewide unemployment also is on the rise. The not-seasonally-adjusted rate increased to 6.1 percent in May compared to 5.7 percent in April. State unemployment for May 2013 was 7.3 percent. The trend continues nationwide with an increase from 5.9 percent in April to 6.1 percent in May. Last year’s May unemployment for the United States was 7.3 percent.

May also marked the first time in more than a year that the local Metropolitan Statistical Area did not make the top three for over-the-year job growth. The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater MSA was No. 1 out of the 23 MSAs in the state last year. It dropped to No. 3 for the first four months of 2014. It did not make the top three in May.

Unemployment in the local MSA rose to 6.2 percent compared to 5.9 percent in April. It is down from 7.3 percent reported in May 2013. The local MSA includes the counties of Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas.

Hernando County ranks No. 6 with 7.8 percent. Pasco ranks No. 20 with 6.8 percent. Hillsborough County tied with Gulf and Volusia counties for the No. 31 spot. Pinellas County has the lowest unemployment in the MSA, tying with Charlotte, Palm Beach and Columbia counties for the No. 35 rank.

Hendry County continues to report the highest unemployment in the state with 9.4 percent. The lowest is in Walton County with 3.4 percent.

According to the latest report, 26,904 people are unemployed in Pinellas out of a labor force of 452,781. In April, 25,365 were unemployed out of a labor force of 448,478. In May 2013, 31,798 were unemployed out of a labor force of 446,367.

Despite May’s uptick in unemployment, Gov. Rick Scott continues to tout the good news in job gains, unemployment rate decline and growth in job demand.

“Long-term trends demonstrate that Florida is poised for success,” the governor said in a press release. “Private sector trends have been on the rise for over three years, our unemployment rate has declined or remained steady for 43 of the last 45 months, and for the fifth month in a row our labor force has grown. Florida’s had an amazing turnaround.”

Scott pointed out that the state’s unemployment rate had been below or equal to the national rate for 13 consecutive months. Since December 2010, Florida has added more than 580,000 private sector jobs. Over the year, the state has added 218,000 jobs, an increase of 2.9 percent compared to May 2013.

The governor also reported that the state had placed No. 4 in the nation in the 2013 Gross Domestic Product figures, released the week of June 9 by the federal government. The top three were California, Texas and New York. Florida also placed No. 3 for GDP growth.

GDP is the value of all final goods and services produced in a defined period, Scott explained in his press release. Real GDP is a standard measure of the economy’s output.

The industry gaining the most jobs statewide thus far in 2014 is trade, transportation and utilities, adding 53,500, an increase of 3.4 percent. Professional and business services came in second, adding 40,300 jobs, up 3.6 percent. Leisure and Hospitality came in third with 38,400 jobs, a 3.7 percent increase.

The industries with the fewest new jobs were government with an increase of 1,700 jobs, 0.2 percent; information with 3,200 jobs, up 2.4 percent; and other services, with 5,800 jobs, a 1.9 percent increase.
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