Make us your home page

Florida unemployment jumps to national average

Unemployment in the Tampa Bay area took its sharpest one-month jump in recent history in May, rising to 5.6 percent, up from 4.9 percent in April and 3.7 percent just a year ago.

That put the local jobless rate slightly above both the national and statewide level, both of which were 5.5 percent in May. It ends a more than five-year run in which Florida and the Tampa Bay area unemployment ran below the national benchmark. Both state and local jobless rates are back where they were in 2003.

Florida and the Tampa Bay area's economy have deteriorated quickly since September, when job creation suddenly stalled and went in reverse. Over the past year, 74,700 jobs have been drained out of Florida. The sucking sound has been loudest in the Tampa Bay area, with 20,300 jobs gone since last May. More than half of the job losses statewide were related to construction.

Sean Snaith, economist at the University of Central Florida, predicts unemployment will continue to rise until 2009 as the state works its way through the housing bust. That should be sobering news to workers surveyed in the latest monthly report by Spherion, a Fort Lauderdale staffing company. In May, the survey's worker confidence index inched up and nearly 40 percent of workers said they were likely to look for a new job. According to Florida's Agency for Workforce Innovation, the only sectors showing any signs of life are also those most likely to feel the strain of reduced public funding: education, healthcare and government.

-- Kris Hundley can be reached at or (727) 892-2996.

State's biggest job-loser over last year: Tampa Bay area, lost 20,300 jobs

State's biggest job-gainer over last year: Orlando, gained 1,400

Statewide jobs lost: 74,700

Percent of job losses statewide related to construction: 54 percent

Florida unemployment jumps to national average 06/20/08 [Last modified: Friday, March 27, 2009 11:47am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Judge throws out $458,000 condo sale, says Clearwater attorney tricked bidders

    Real Estate

    CLEARWATER — Pinellas County Circuit Judge Jack St. Arnold on Monday threw out the $458,100 sale of a gulf-front condo because of what he called an "unscrupulous" and "conniving" scheme to trick bidders at a foreclosure auction.

    John Houde, left, whose Orlando copany was the high  bidder June 8 at the foreclosure auction of a Redington Beach condo, looks in the direction of Clearwater lawyer and real estate investor Roy C. Skelton, foreground,  during a hearing Monday before Pinellas County Circuit Judge Jack St. Arnold.  [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times ]
  2. Pasco EDC names business incubator head in Dade City, will open second site


    Pasco County economic development officials are busy reigniting their business start-up resources following the departure earlier this year of Krista Covey, who ran the Pasco Economic Development Council's SMARTStart business incubator in Dade City.

    Andrew Romaner was promoted this summer to serve as program director of the Dade City SMARTStart Entrepreneur Center, a start-up incubator service of the Pasco Economic Development Council. He succeeds Krista Covey, who relocated to Texas for another startup position. [Courtesy of Pasco EDC]
  3. Proposed Tampa tax increase prompts second thoughts about Riverfront Park spending

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park has a $35.5 million price tag with something for everyone, including a rowers' boathouse, a sheltered cove for beginning paddlers, an event lawn, a community center with sweeping views of downtown and all kinds of athletic courts — even pickleball! — when it opens …

    Expect the $35.5 million redevelopment of Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park to be a big part of the discussion when the Tampa City Council discusses Mayor Bob Buckhorn's proposed budget and property tax increase this Thursday. LUIS SANTANA   |   Times
  4. Record $417 million awarded in lawsuit linking baby powder to cancer


    LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles jury on Monday ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a record $417 million to a hospitalized woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the talc in the company's iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene.

    A bottle of Johnson's baby powder is displayed. On Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, a Los Angeles County Superior Court spokeswoman confirmed that a jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $417 million in a case to a woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the talc in the company's iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene. [Associated Press]
  5. Superior Uniform acquires Los Angeles-based PublicIdentity


    SEMINOLE — A subsidiary of Seminole-based Superior Uniform Group has acquired Los Angeles-based branded merchandise company PublicIdentity Inc.

    Superior Uniform Group CEO Michael Benstock
[Courtesy of Superior Uniform Group]