Pinellas County’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for August was 4.2%, down from the 4.4% reported in July and the 6.9% reported in August 2020, or so says the report released Sept. 17 by the state Department of Economic Opportunity.

The county had a slight bump up in the labor force going from 515,290 in July to 515,787 in August. Only 21,577 were unemployed in August compared to 22,491 last month and 33,069 last year.

The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Metropolitan Statistical Area also reported a decrease in unemployment with the August rate down to 4.5% compared to 4.7% in July and 7.2% in August 2020.

Florida’s unemployment rate decreased to 5% compared to 5.1% in July and 8% in August last year. The United States rate dropped from 5.7% in July to 5.3% in Augusts and 8.5% in August 2020.

The unemployment 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 August, the state’s adjusted rate was the same as the not adjusted rate, decreasing from 5.1% in July to 5% in August. The United States’ rate decreased from 5.4% in July to 5.2% in August.

Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique used to measure and remove the effects of recurring patterns to show how employment and unemployment, as well as the size of the labor force change from month to month due to seasonal events, such as weather, harvests, major holidays and school schedules.

DEO reported that all 24 metro areas had over-the-year job gains in August. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford had the biggest boost with 74,000 jobs, followed by Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall with 68,000 jobs. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater had the third highest gain with 67,600 jobs, or 5.1%.

In addition, the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater MSA gained the highest number of private-sector jobs among the metro areas in August with 72,400 new jobs.

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater MSA’s labor force went up by 111,658 over the year, a 7.3 percent increase. The industries gaining the most jobs over the year included leisure and hospitality, with 24,200 jobs, and professional and business services, with by 21,300 jobs.

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater MSA tied with Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent MSA for the No. 16 rank among the 24 metro areas with an unemployment rate of 4.5%. Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall Metropolitan Division ranked No. 1 with a rate of 6.7%, and Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin MSA ranked No. 24 with a rate of 3.8%.

Of the counties in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater MSA (Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas) Pinellas had the lowest unemployment rate and tied with Alachua and Collier counties for the rank of No. 53 with a rate of 4.2%.

Hillsborough tied with Manatee County for the rank of No. 44 with a rate of 4.4%, Pasco tied with seven counties for the rank of No. 33 with a rate of 4.7%. Hernando, which typically has the highest unemployment in the local MSA, tied with Polk County for the rank of No. 11 with an unemployment rate of 5.6%.

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