For the past three months, finding a new job has been top-of-mind for Mike Mader, an unemployed marketing executive in St. Petersburg. Unfortunately, in May and June the Tampa Bay area led the state in job losses, with 23,100 positions evaporating over the past year.
So Mader, 54, is still on the hunt, trying to tap contacts for job suggestions without appearing desperate. "I've had more interviews from networking than from applying on the Internet,'' he said. "If you don't tell people, they can't help you."
Mader is hardly alone. Unemployment in the bay area hit 5.9 percent in June, higher than the state and national levels. It reflects a rise in the local jobless rate from 5.6 percent in May and 4.2 percent in June 2007.
The unemployment rates for Florida and the United States both stood at 5.5 percent in June, with the national rate the same as May's and Florida's rate up 0.1 percent. In June 2007, Florida's jobless rate was 4 percent, below the national figure of 4.6 percent.
Florida led the nation with the largest over-the-month decrease in total job numbers in June. Over the past year, the state has lost 78,100 jobs. More than half of those were in construction.
Joe Badalamenti, manager of the Hillsborough office of Manpower Inc., said plenty of construction workers have showed up at his staffing company. But he's also beginning to see people laid off from once-secure government jobs. Ironically, deep cuts at some municipal offices are leading to orders for temporary help through companies like Manpower.
"But when a job comes up, there are four times as many candidates as in the past," Badalamenti said. "We're just hoping to see a slight upturn in employment by year end."
Kris Hundley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 892-2996.