May’s employment report released June 18 by the Department of Economic Opportunity showed nothing but positive news for Pinellas County.

The not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined to 4.3% compared to 4.4% in April. The labor force grew to 505,727, up from 501,285 last month. The number reportedly unemployed dropped to 21,509, down from 22,030 in April.

In May 2020, the county’s unemployment rate was 13.5% with a labor force of 481,887. According to the DEO, 65,207 were in need of a job.

The state’s unemployment rate was down to 5% in May from 5.2% in April. It was 14.3% in May 2020.

The national rate declined to 5.5%, down from 5.7% in April, and appreciably less than 13% reported in May last year.

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Metropolitan Statistical Area also reported a declining unemployment rate at 4.6% in May compared to 4.7% in April. The local MSA had 13.4% unemployment in May 2020.

The rates reported are not seasonally adjusted. The DEO’s report does not provide seasonally adjusted rates for counties or MSAs.

DEO does provide seasonally adjusted numbers for states and the nation. In May, the state’s adjusted rate increased from 4.8% in April to 4.9%. The United States’ rate went from 6.1% in April to 5.8% in May.

Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique used to measure and remove the effects of seasonal patterns to show how employment and unemployment change from month to month. Levels of employment and unemployment, as well as the size of the labor force, change due to seasonal events, such as weather, harvests, major holidays and school schedules. Not-seasonally-adjusted data is typically offered for smaller geographies.

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater MSA placed second among the state’s 24 metro areas for the largest over-the-year job gains. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford was first adding 109,700 new jobs, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater came in second with 97,600 jobs and Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall was third adding 82,100 jobs.

The industries gaining the most jobs over the year in the local MSA included leisure and hospitality with 33,500 new jobs; professional and business services with 27,400 jobs; and trade, transportation and utilities with 18,100 new jobs.

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater MSA tied with two others for the rank of No. 13 out of the state’s 24 metro areas. Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall Metropolitan Division ranked No. 1 with the highest unemployment rate of 6.7%, and Crestview-Fort Walton-Destin MSA ranked No. 24 with the lowest rate of 3.6%.

Pinellas tied with Brevard, Dixie and Holmes counties for the rank of No. 40 out of the state’s 67 counties. Of the other counties in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater MSA, Hillsborough tied with Lee and Palm Beach counties for the rank of No. 33 with an unemployment rate of 4.6%; Pasco tied with Columbia and Levy counties for the rank of No. 25 with a rate of 4.8%.

Hernando County had to highest unemployment rate in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater MSA and ranked No. 10 in the state with a rate of 5.6%. Pinellas had the lowest rate in the MSA with 4.3%.

Statewide, Miami-Dade County ranked No. 1 with the highest unemployment rate of 6.7%. Monroe County had the lowest, 3.1%, and ranked No. 67.

Suzette Porter is TBN’s Pinellas County editor. She can be reached at