Financial services sector bolsters Florida's economic growth in June

Florida's unemployment rate stayed at 3.4 percent from May to June, and the state added 16,100 jobs over the month.
The SunTrust Financial Centre in downtown Tampa. [LUIS SANTANA   |   Times]
The SunTrust Financial Centre in downtown Tampa. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
Published July 19

Florida's economy remained strong in June, and the financial service sector is partly to thank.

Florida's unemployment rate stayed at 3.4 percent from May to June, and the state added 16,100 jobs over the month (up less than 1 percent). It has gained and 218,800 jobs since last June (up 2.5 percent).

Business and professional services, which includes the financial service sector, added the second-most jobs between June 2018 and last month (40,500 jobs), following education and health services (54,700 jobs).

The growth in jobs for the sector is because of a strong talent pipeline from as early as high school, PNC economist Abbey Omodunbi said. He said that's especially true for Tampa Bay, the "financial services capital" of the state.

"Professional and business services have remained strong in Tampa," Omodunbi said. "What we're seeing is strong demographics, especially from the strong talent pool."

The only sector to lose jobs was information (500 jobs), which includes newspapers.

Tampa Bay's unemployment rate rose to 3.5 percent in June from May's 3.1 percent. Hillsborough County's unemployment rate jumped to 3.4 percent from 3 percent, Pinellas County increased to 3.2 percent from 2.9 percent, Hernando County jumped to 4.7 percent from 4.1 percent and Pasco County increased to 3.8 percent from 3.4 percent.

The bay area lost 7,500 jobs over the month (down half a percent) but has added 29,300 jobs over the year (up 2.2 percent), the second-highest annual job gain of any Florida metro after Orlando (48,600 jobs).

Concerns of a recession have slowed consumer spending some, Omodunbi said.

"We're at the latter stages of the (economic) expansion," he said. "People are not as eager to spend as they were five or six years ago. Folks are being more cautious."

Omodunbi expects the expansion to continue into 2020. The biggest headwinds economic expansion in the U.S. will face, he said, are an escalation of trade tensions with China and any effect Brexit has on the global economy.

Contact Malena Carollo at mcarollo@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2249. Follow @malenacarollo.

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