Pinellas County’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 2.9% in May, a slight increase from 2.8% reported in April, but still down from 3.2% in May last year, according to a June 21 report from the state Department of Economic Opportunity.

In addition, the county’s labor force increased to 496,485 — 6,965 more than in the April report. The number of people unemployed was 14,421, which is up from 13,572 in April, but less than the 15,619 without jobs in May 2018.

The state’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment also showed an increase, going from 2.9% in April to 3.1% in May. The United States unemployment rate followed the same trend, increasing to 3.4% in May compared to 3.3% in April.

The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Metropolitan Statistical Area had a 3.1% unemployment rate in May, up from 2.9% in April. The local MSA slipped to third place from its second-place position in the area of over-the-year job gains.

In May, 23 of the state’s 24 metro areas had over-the-year job gains. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford had the most new jobs with 40,600, followed by Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall with 28,300 jobs and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater with 27,100 new jobs.

According to the DEO, the industries with the highest growth over the year in the Tampa area are professional and business services with 8,200 new jobs and education and health services with 5,500.

The local metro area remained No. 1 among the state’s metro areas in job demand with 60,032 openings in May, and it ranked No. 1 in demand for high-skill, high-wage STEM occupations with 19,726 openings.

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater MSA tied with two other metro areas for the unemployment rank of No. 12. Homosassa Springs and The Villages MSAs tied for the No. 1 position with an unemployment rate of 4.6% — the highest among the 24 MSAs. Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin ranked No. 24 with the lowest rate of 2.5%.

Pinellas County tied with four other counties for the rank of No. 49 among the state’s 67 counties. Hernando, Hillsborough and Pasco counties also are part of the local MSA. Hillsborough tied with six other counties for the rank of No. 42 with an unemployment rate of 3%.

Pasco County tied with two other counties for the rank of No. 25 with an unemployment rate of 3.4% and Hernando ranked No. 7 with a rate of 4.1%.

Four counties tied for the rank of No. 1 with the highest unemployment rate in the state of 4.6%. Those counties were Citrus, Gulf, Hardee and Sumter. Monroe County had the lowest rate in the state, 2.1%, and ranked No. 67.

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