Make us your home page
Instagram

Florida unemployment drops; Tampa Bay leads state in job growth

Tampa Bay led the state in new hires last month as Florida's job market brightened, with the state's unemployment rate dipping to its lowest point in four years.

About 10,000 jobs were added locally last month, sinking Tampa Bay's jobless rate from 8 percent to 7.4 percent in one month, state data released Friday show.

With 33,000 jobs added since February 2012, Tampa Bay's year-over-year job growth bested every metro area in the state.

Work forces swelled in every local county, including hard-hit Hernando, where last month's unemployment rate was more than 3 percentage points below where it was a year ago.

"The Tampa to Orlando corridor will be an important one when it comes to job growth," University of Central Florida economist Sean Snaith said. "This bodes well for the future of the region. But we still have a lot of ground to make up."

The state added 7,800 jobs last month as unemployment sunk to 7.7 percent, down from January's revised rate of 7.9 percent. Florida has extended its year-over-year hiring gains to 31 months in a row.

Gov. Rick Scott said Friday in Orlando that efforts to cut taxes and pay down state debt were paying off.

With "nearly 300,000 private sector jobs created over the last two years, we have proof that it's working," Scott said.

State unemployment has not been this low since October 2008, when it was 7.4 percent. But of the state's 9.4 million-strong labor force, 729,000 remain out of work. In a typical healthy economy, Florida's jobless rate would fall below 6 percent.

The unemployment rate doesn't count the thousands of Floridians who have stopped looking for work. Though the Sunshine State gained 217,000 adults over the last year, data show, the labor force gained only 92,000 jobs.

Many of those now sitting on the sidelines could start looking for work again, dragging down the recovering job market.

About 10,000 jobs were added in Tampa Bay last month, though 100,000 remained out of work.

Local numbers, which are not tweaked for seasonal changes, are regarded as less reliable than the state's seasonally adjusted figures.

The lion's share of new Florida jobs were in leisure and hospitality, though retailers, health care and professional services like accounting and technical consulting also gained thousands of jobs.

Workplaces with the biggest gains in new jobs last month included colleges and universities, tax preparation offices, and amusement parks and arcades.

Courier and messenger firms and stores selling sporting goods, books and music, counted the highest rates of job losses last month. About 11,000 government jobs have been cut since last February.

Drew Harwell can be reached at dharwell@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8252.

County-by-county jobless rates

RegionFebruary 2013January 2013Febuary 2012
Hillsborough7.27.79
Pinellas7.37.89.1
Pasco8.28.910.8
Hernando99.712.2
Citrus8.59.310.4
Hendry (high)10.811.412.5
Monroe (low)4.24.65.3
Tampa Bay7.489.4
Florida7.77.99
U.S.7.77.98.3

Note: State and national numbers are seasonally adjusted,

while county and Tampa Bay numbers are not.

Source: Florida Department of Economic Opportunity

Florida unemployment drops; Tampa Bay leads state in job growth 03/29/13 [Last modified: Friday, March 29, 2013 9:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  2. Line of moms welcome Once Upon A Child to Carrollwood

    Business

    CARROLLWOOD — Strollers of all shapes and sizes are lined up in front of the store, and inside, there are racks of children's clothing in every color of the rainbow.

    At Once Upon A Child, you often as many baby strollers outside as you find baby furniture and accessories. It recently opened this location in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser
  3. Pastries N Chaat brings North India cuisine to North Tampa

    Business

    TAMPA — Pastries N Chaat, a new restaurant offering Indian street food, opened this week near the University of South Florida.

    The menu at Pastries N Chaat includes a large variety of Biriyani, an entree owners say is beloved by millions. Photo courtesy of Pastries N Chaat.
  4. 'Garbage juice' seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle county

    Water

    To Waste Management, the nation's largest handler of garbage, the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called "leachate," and it can safely be disposed of in a well that's 4,200 feet deep.

    Three samples that were displayed by Jackson County NAACP President Ronstance Pittman at a public meeting on Waste Management's deep well injection proposal. The sample on the left is full of leachate from the Jackson County landfill, the stuff that would be injected into the well. The sample on the right shows leachate after it's been treated at a wastewater treatment plant. The one in the middle is tap water.
  5. Honda denies covering up dangers of Takata air bags

    Autos

    With just a third of the defective Takata air bag inflators replaced nationwide, the corporate blame game of who will take responsibility — and pay — for the issue has shifted into another gear.

    Honda is denying covering up dangers of Takata air bags. | [Scott McIntyre, New York Times]