Pinellas County’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.1% in March — down from 3.3% reported in February and the 3.4% reported for the same month last year.

According to a report from the Department of Economic Opportunity released April 19, the county’s labor force remained steady, but the number unemployed dropped from 16,162 in February to 15,307 in March.

The labor force in February was 494,024 and 494,094 in March. In March of 2018, the labor force was 490,069 with 16,557 reportedly without a job.

The not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Metropolitan Statistical Area declined to 3.3% compared to 3.5% in February and March 2018. The MSA includes Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties.

The state rate decreased to 3.3% compared to 3.4% in February and 3.7% for the same month last year. The national rate followed the same trend coming in at 3.9% in March compared to 4.1% in February and 4.1% in March 2018.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater MSA had added the second-highest number of jobs among the 24 metro areas. The local MSA has been in third place for the last few months.

Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford added the most over-the-year job gains with 47,400 new jobs, followed by Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater with 29,600 and Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall with 27,100.

The industry with the highest growth over the year in the area was professional and business services with 10,900 new jobs.

The local area remained first among the state metro areas in job demand in March with 56,208 openings. The area also continues to rank first in the state in demand for high-skill, high-wage STEM occupations with 18,139 openings.

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater MSA tied with Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville MSA for the rank of No. 12 among the state’s metro areas. Homosassa Springs MSA and The Villages MSA tied for No. 1 with an unemployment rate of 4.9%. Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin MSA ranked No. 24 with an unemployment rate of 2.8%.

Pinellas tied with seven other counties for the rank of No. 48 among the state’s 67 counties. Hillsborough tied with five counties for the rank of No. 43 with an unemployment rate of 3.2%. Pasco tied with two other counties for the rank of No. 26 with an unemployment rate of 3.6%, and Hernando tied with Bay County for the rank of No. 9 with an unemployment rate of 4.3%.

Gulf County ranked No. 1 with an unemployment rank of 5.3%, the highest in the state. Monroe County had the lowest rate, 2.3%, and ranked No. 67.

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