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Robert Trigaux

Tampa Bay rise in jobless accounts for nearly half of increase in entire state in November



TheScreampainting Wake up and good morning. Holy metro hit. Is this possible, Tampa Bay? I've finally gotten a chance to examine the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics out this week showing the November unemployment figures for metro areas across Florida (and the United States).

The Tampa Bay metro area was home to 6,600 or 46.5 percent of the 14,200 additional unemployed in the entire state of Florida between November and October last year. Here are the BLS statistics. Look them over yourself. Somebody tell me I'm misreading these numbers, please. How can one metro area among so many in such a big state be ground zero for jobless hell?

The data show Tampa Bay's unemployed numbered 161,100 in November, up from 154,500 in October, an increase of 6,600. Statewide, November's unemployed stood at a crushing 1,053,100, up from October's 1,038,900 -- a difference of 14,200. That means the rest of Florida registered 7,600 more unemployed to Tampa Bay's 6,600 last November. Compare Tampa Bay's miserable numbers to some other major metro ares in Florida.

* Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater: November jobless rate: 12.3 percent. Increase in unemployed since October: +6,600.

* Miami-Fort Lauderdale: November jobless rate: 10.6 percent. Decrease (*note how this dip skews the state numbers) in unemployed since October: -13,800.

* Orlando: November jobless rate: 11.8 percent. Increase in unemployed since October: +3,900.

* Jacksonville: November jobless rate: 11.2 percent. Increase in unemployed since October: +3,400.

Over the past year, or November 2009 versus November, 2008, Tampa Bay has lost 55,600 jobs. So 6,600 or 12 percent of those lost jobs occurred between November '09 and the previous month, according to BLS figures.

Of course, one month's numbers does not a debacle make. And the BLS november numbers are "preliminary" and subject to later revision. Still, it begs the question. Is Tampa Bay's job make-up super-dependent on the types of jobs (like construction) that are withering the quickest? If so, why aren't our political and business leaders paying more public attention to this metro area's unusual job vulnerability? This demands closer attention.

-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 11:27am]


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