Tampa Bay, Florida jobless rates outpace U.S.
Florida's unemployment rate for November rose to 7.3 percent, up from 7 percent in October, while the Tampa Bay metro area continued to outpace the state with unemployment rising to 7.8 percent. That compares with a Tampa Bay jobless rate of 7.4 percent in October and a startlingly low rate of 4.5 percent just one year ago in November 2007. The state's labor agency, the Agency for Workforce Innovation, released the new data this morning. (Photo of Pasco County construction in 2008 near the Shops at Wiregrass by Janel Schroeder-Norton for the St. Petersburg Times.)
Nationally, how did Florida fare? According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the largest over-the-month decrease in the level of employment was recorded in Florida (-58,600), followed by North Carolina (-46,000), California (-41,700), Michigan (-36,900) and Georgia (-30,000).
Here are the statewide highlights of the job market:
* The latest 7.3 percent rate represents 680,000 jobless out of a labor force of 9.3-million. The unemployment rate is up 2.9 percentage points from the November 2007 rate.
* Florida’s November 2008 unemployment rate is the highest since June
1993, when it was also 7.3 percent.
* The state’s current unemployment rate is 0.6 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate of 6.7 percent.
* The state's annual nonagricultural employment growth rate for November 2008 is -2.6 percent. That represents a loss of 206,900 jobs from November 2007, for a total employment level of 7.8-million. This is slower than the national rate of shrinkage for November, which is -1.4 percent.
* Of Florida's 206,900 jobs lost in the past year, construction lost 80,000, or 32.5 percent, reacting to declines in the housing market.
* Other major job losses over the year statewide were clustered in professional and business services (-59,800 jobs, -4.5 percent); trade, transportation and utilities (-55,500 jobs, -3.4 percent); manufacturing (-22,900 jobs, -6.0 percent); financial activities (-17,400 jobs, -3.2 percent); information (-8,000 jobs, -5.0 percent); and leisure and hospitality (-3,900 jobs, -0.4 percent).
* Education and health services gained the most new jobs among Florida’s major industries, expanding by 40,400 jobs over the year (+4.0 percent). Much of this increase is due to growth in ambulatory health care services. Government (+1,000 jobs) and other services (+100 jobs) account for the remainder of job gains.
As for the sharper annual declines for the Tampa Bay, the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area lost 30,600 jobs, or 2.4 percent. Other larger metro areas taking hits over the past year were Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Pompano Beach (-59,300 jobs, -2.4 percent) and Jacksonville (-10,900, -1.7 percent). All metro areas in the state lost jobs over the year in November 2008.
In November 2008, Alachua and Liberty counties had the state’s lowest unemployment rates
(4.9 percent), followed by Walton County (5.0 percent); Sumter County (5.1 percent); Leon
County (5.2 percent); and Franklin County (5.3 percent).
Hendry County, at 11.9 percent, has the highest unemployment rate in Florida in November,
followed by Flagler County (11.1 percent); St. Lucie County (10.4 percent); Hernando County
(10.2 percent); and Hamilton and Okeechobee counties (10 percent each).
Tampa Bay area counties were led by Hernando's 10.2-percent jobless rate (up from 6.2 percent a year ago), followed by Citrus County at 9 percent (up from 5.3 percent), Pasco County at 8.9 percent (up from 5.3 percent), Pinellas County at 7.5 percent (up from 4.3 percent) and Hillsborough County at 7.4 percent (up from 4.3 percent).
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist