Pinellas reports 13.4% unemployment rate for May

The state and national unemployment rate shot up in April and May due to the effects of COVID-19 on the labor market.

Pinellas County’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for May was 13.4% in May, which was better than expected. April’s rate was 14.1%. However, in May 2019, the rate was only 2.9%.

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity released the latest figures on June 19.

The county’s labor force grew to 472,804 compared to 460,435 in April, but was down from 491,818 in May 2019.

Fewer were reportedly unemployed in May, 63,263. In April, the number without a job was 64,708. But in May 2019, only 14,463 needed a job, according to DEO.

The state’s not seasonally adjusted rate was up to 14.3% compared to 13.5% in April and 3% in May 2019. The United States’ rate was 13% compared to 14.4% in April and 3.4% in May last year.

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Metropolitan Statistical Area’s unemployment rate for May was 13.1%, which was close to the same as April with 13.2%, but considerably higher than May 2019 with a rate of 3.1%.

The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater MSA includes Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties.

All 24 of the state’s metro areas had over-the-year job losses. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford had the most, a loss of 217,000 jobs. Miami-Miami-Beach-Kendall was second with a loss of 122,800 jobs. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater came in third, down 102,400 jobs.

Statewide, the industry losing the most jobs was leisure and hospitality, down 460,500 jobs, or 36.8%. Trade, transportation and utilities lost 123,800 jobs, or 6.9%, professional and business services was down 104,500 jobs, 7.5%, and education and health services lost 73,300 jobs, or 5.5%.

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater MSA tied with Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island MSA for the rank of No. 11 among the 24 metro areas. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford MSA ranked No. 1 with the highest unemployment rate of 22.6%. Gainesville and Tallahassee metro areas tied for No. 23 with the lowest rate, 8.7%.

Pinellas ranked No. 19 of the state’s 67 counties. Hillsborough tied with Brevard County for the rank of No. 23 with a 12.6% unemployment rate. Pasco tied with Sarasota County for the rank of No. 15 with a rate of 13.6%, and Hernando, which typically has the highest rate of the counties in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater MSA, ranked No. 8 with an unemployment rate of 14.7%.

Osceola County ranked No. 1 with the highest rate in the state, 31.1% and Lafayette County ranked No. 67 with the lowest rate, 5.7%.

As of June 19, DEO has paid 1,437,029 claimants more than $6.5 billion. Pinellas County claims totaled 76,576.

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