January’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Pinellas County rose to 3%, according to the March 16 report released by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

In December, the county reported a rate of 2.5%. The rate in January 2019 was 3.6%.

The state’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate also increased to 3%, up from 2.5% in December, but down from 3.8% in January 2019. The national rate went up to 4% compared to the 3.4% reported in December, but was still better than the 4.4% reported for the same month last year.

The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Metropolitan Statistical Area also increased, going from 2.7% in December to 3.1% in January. The rate in January 2019 was 3.8%. The MSA ranked second out of the state’s 24 metro areas for over-the-year job gains.

Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford came in first with 37,100 new jobs, followed by Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater with 36,400 and Jacksonville with 21,200. Homosassa Springs reported over-the-year job losses of 100 jobs.

The industries with the highest growth in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater MSA were education and health services with 10,700 new jobs and professional and business services with 8,300 new jobs.

The local MSA tied with three others for the rank of No. 15 among all the state’s metro areas. Homosassa Springs MSA ranked No. 1 with the highest unemployment rate, 4.9%, and Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall Metropolitan Division ranked No. 24 with the lowest rate, 1.5%.

The county’s labor force climbed to 498,909 compared to 497,735 the month before and 485,296 in January 2019. The state report shows that 14,916 were seeking a job in Pinellas in January, up from 12,526 in December, but down from the 17,638 reportedly unemployed in the same month last year.

Pinellas and Hillsborough County, which is part of the local MSA, tied with seven other counties for the rank of No. 51 out of 67. Of the other counties in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater MSA, Pasco County tied with four others for the rank of No. 26 with an unemployment rate of 3.5%. Hernando County ranked No. 8 with a rate of 4.2%.

Hendry County ranked No. 1 with the highest rate in the state, 5.1%, and Miami-Dade County ranked No. 67 with the lowest not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, 1.5%.

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