Trying to assess the state's economy by simply noting that Florida now has a 7.7 percent jobless rate is like gauging the success of the Tampa Bay Rays by their low team batting average. One number just isn't enough information to flesh out what's really happening. • So let's take a quick look at a broader swath of statistics that — together — better measure the state of the Florida and Tampa Bay job scenes. There is progress in these numbers, but many more and better jobs still need to be created.
7.7 percent: The unemployment rates in Florida and the nation as a whole are now the same.
1.3 percentage points: The drop in Florida's unemployment rate in the past year from 9 percent to 7.7 percent.
2 percentage points: The drop in Tampa Bay's unemployment rate in the past year, to 7.4 percent from 9.4 percent.
11.4 percent: The state jobless rate, a modern-day record, reached in March 2010.
12.5 percent: Tampa Bay's jobless rate in early 2010.
6.6 percentage points: The difference in jobless rates between the county with the highest rate, Hendry at 10.8 percent, and the one with the lowest rate, Monroe at 4.2 percent.
729,000: Floridians technically still out of work.
128,100: Jobs created statewide between February 2012 and February 2013, ranking third among all states, behind only Texas and California.
33,200: Jobs created in Tampa Bay between February 2012 and February 2013, more than in any other metro area in the state.
700: Jobs lost in the past year in Panama City, the only state metro area to suffer a loss.
2,100: Construction jobs created in Tampa Bay from January 2012 to January 2013 after years of heavy losses.
3.2 percent: The increase in the average per capita personal income for Floridians in 2012, to $40,344, ranking 27th among the states.
4.7 percent: The increase in the average personal income for Floridians in 2011.
40: The rank of Tampa Bay among the 50 largest metro areas in economic confidence, says Gallup.
35: The rank of Tampa Bay among the 50 largest metro areas in Gallup's job creation index.
1.125 million: People employed in Florida in education and health care.
41,500: State job gains in leisure and hospitality in the past year, tops of any sector.
1.074 million: People employed in Florida in government.
11,100: Jobs lost in the government sector statewide in the past year.
Robert Trigaux can be reached at [email protected]