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Robert Trigaux

Forecast: Tampa Bay losing 42,900 jobs in '09

21

January

A forecast of coming 2009 job losses by metro area across the country is out -- from a reputable economic research firm -- and the news is grim nationwide and, in particular for Florida and the Tampa Bay area.

That Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area is expected to lose 42,900 jobs this year, a number second in Florida only to the far larger Miami-Fort Lauderdale metro area's loss of 84,800. Those findings and much more appear in the report "U.S. Metro Economies: The Engines of Economic Recovery." It was prepared by the economic forecasting firm Global Insight for the annual U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting which concluded over this past weekend.

According to Global Insight's forecast, the Tampa Bay market's 42,900 lost jobs this year will represent a 3.4-percent decline in metro-wide employment by the fourth quarter of 2009 from the same period of 2008. Put another way, those lost jobs are expected to increase Tampa Bay's unemployment rate to 8.9 percent by the end of this year -- a 1.6-percentage point increase from 7.3 percent unemployed at the end of '08. That's a higher unemployment rate than Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Orlando or Jacksonville are expected to have by year-end (but Tampa Bay's is already higher than these metro areas). States the Global Insight report on the national outlook:

"The decline in the labor market is severe. Employment fell nearly 500,000 per month in the last four months of 2008, and we expect similar losses through the first quarter of 2009. December marked the 12th consecutive month of job cuts, and the cumulative payroll decline now stands at more than 2.5 million. We believe that is just halfway to the total job loss anticipated during this cycle.

"On top of the bad employment news, the unemployment rate has jumped to 7.2 percent, reaching a 15-year high. We see the unemployment rate rising above 9 percent by early 2010, the highest level since the early 80s."

The bad news for the Tampa Bay metro area is that 2009 job losses here are only a bit less than the combined job losses expected this year in both the Orlando-Kissimmee and the Jacksonville markets predicted to lose 27,700 and 22,300 jobs, respectively. But let's keep perspective. The Tampa Bay market's unemployment rate of 8.9 percent at the end of this year will remain significantly lower than unemployment rates expected in such metro areas as Cape Coral-Fort Myers (rising to 11.2 percent from 9 percent) or Bradenton-Sarasota-Venice (rising to 9.3 percent from 7.5 percent) or Punta Gorda (rising to 11.6 percent from 9.2 percent).

Here's a brighter side. You're not living in Modesto or Fresno, Calif., where the unemployment rates are expected to rise to 16.1 and 15.1 percent, respectively -- or even Rocky Mount, N.C., rising to 13.6 percent -- by the end of 2009.

Compared with larger U.S. metro areas, the sheer number of job losses in Florida are not as bad as they might seem. For example, the New York metro area will suffer the largest job drop, totaling 181,000, including over 50,000 in financial services as Wall Street retrenches. In Florida, the top 20 metro areas -- combined -- are expected to lose 199,929 jobs this year. That's more than the New York metro area alone, but not by much.

At No. 2 nationwide, Los Angeles will lose 164,000 jobs as the Southern California economy continues to deflate after the bursting of the housing bubble. New York and L.A. are among the 171 which will see job declines in excess of 2 percentage points through 2009. An additional 141 will see losses in excess of 1 percentage point of employment.

Unemployment will rise to above 10 percent in 70 metros, including the recently booming Riverside-
San Bernardino area
, and in long struggling Detroit and Cleveland, says the Global Insight analysis. Los Angeles, Denver, and St. Louis will be among the 105 metros with joblessness above 9 percent. And 297 metros will see jobless rates rise by more than one percentage point in 2009.

-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 12:23pm]

    

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