Pinellas County’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for June was 3.2%, according to the report released July 19 by the state Department of Economic Opportunity.

That rate is up from the 2.9% reported in May and continues an upward trend that started in April when unemployment rose slightly compared to 2.8% reported in April. The rate is still lower than it was at the beginning of the year. Pinellas’ unemployment rate in January was 3.7%.

The county’s labor force increased, going to 501,036 from the 496,546 reported last month. The county’s labor force in June 2018 was 495,236 with an unemployment rate of 3.5%. According to the DEO, 17,425 were unemployed in June 2018. In June this year, 16,229 were looking for work.

The unemployment rate for the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Metropolitan Area followed the same course, going from 3.1% in May to 3.5% in June. The rate is still lower than last year’s at 3.8%. The state’s rate in June was reported at 3.5%, up from 3.1% in May. The U.S. rate was 3.8%, up from 3.4% last month.

The local MSA, which includes Hernando, Hillsborough, Hernando and Pinellas counties, maintained its second place position among the state’s 24 metro areas for the most over-the-year job gains. The DEO says 22 metro areas reported job gains. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford had the most with 48,600, followed by Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater with 29,300 and Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall with 24,900.

Panama City metro area reported over-the-year job losses of 2,400, and the Sebring metro area did not report gains or losses.

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater MSA tied with five other metro areas for the rank of No. 12 among the state’s metro areas. Homosassa Springs and The Villages metro areas tied for No. 1 with the highest unemployment rate of 5.2%. Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin MSA ranked No. 24 with the lowest rate of 2.9%.

Pinellas tied with four other counties for the rank of No. 58 among the state’s 67 counties. Of the other counties in the local MSA, Hillsborough tied with seven for the rank of No. 47 with an unemployment rate of 3.4%.

Pasco had an unemployment rate of 3.8% and tied with two others for the rank of No. 29. Hernando continues to have the highest unemployment rate in the local MSA at 4.7% and ranked No. 7 in the state.

Hendry County ranked No. 1 with an unemployment rate of 6.6% and Monroe County ranked No. 67 with a rate of 2.4%.

According to a press release from Gov. Ron DeSantis, the industries in the local MSA with the highest growth were professional and business services with 7,200 new jobs, education and health services with 5,700 jobs and construction with 5,000 jobs.

The local area also remains first in job demand with 58,559 openings. It ranked first in demand for high-skill, high-wage STEM occupations with 19,381 openings in June.

Suzette Porter is TBN’s Pinellas County editor. She can be reached at sporter@tbnweekly.com.