Make us your home page
Instagram

Florida's unemployment rate drops for second month in a row

Florida's unemployment rate dropped to 11.7 percent in May, the second monthly decline in a row since the state struck a post-World War II record of 12.3 percent in March.

In the Tampa Bay area, the jobless rate fell to 11.7 percent compared to an adjusted 12 percent in April, with rates trending down in every area county.

But stow the bubbly.

A gain of 20,300 jobs statewide over the month was due entirely to May being the peak hiring month for part-time U.S. census jobs. Take away some 32,300 census jobs created last month — many of which are expected to end within a few months — and Florida would have been in job loss territory again.

In other words, we're still waiting for the private sector to ramp up hiring.

"So far, we're not seeing any indication that private growth has gotten under way," said Sean Snaith, director of the University of Central Florida's Institute for Economic Competitiveness. "The census has made these numbers look better than the underlying state of the economy."

"At face value, this is welcome (news), but it's not exactly time to pop the champagne corks here," said Scott Brown, chief economist with Raymond James Financial in St. Petersburg,

The back-to-back drops in the unemployment rate mean the March record was likely "either the peak or pretty close to the peak," Brown said. Even so, "we still don't expect to see a lot of improvement anytime soon."

In fact, he predicts unemployment will climb again over the summer as almost all census jobs disappear by September.

Typically, unemployment also rises once more people are convinced a recovery is under way and re-enter the labor force. We haven't reached that point yet. To the contrary, a drop in the state's labor force last month indicates more people have stopped looking for work.

Ryan Skubis, Florida district director for staffing agency Robert Half International, describes the hiring climate as "choppy."

For the first time, though, Skubis sees the picture as more positive than negative. More part-timers are being converted into full-timers, he said, and demand is picking up in a few industries, such as logistics/transportation and manufacturing.

Health care continues to be the strongest industry, generating more than 25,000 jobs in Florida over the past year. Of the top 20 job openings in the state based on online ads, half are in the medical field. The most in-demand option: registered nurse, with 13,000 job openings.

In recent months, the economy has shown a smattering of promising signs. Factory orders have risen; software spending and personal income levels are up; credit card debt and the number of mass layoffs are down.

But there are enough remaining headwinds to make economic recovery an agonizingly slow process.

More community banks are expected to fail, overwhelmed by troubled commercial real estate loans. A slight pickup in home sales has stalled amid the end of tax credits targeting first-time home buyers. Foreclosures rose again last month. Housing starts are down over the last month, but up compared to last year.

Rebecca Rust, chief economist with the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation, which oversees unemployment issues, said such mixed signals are common when bumping along the bottom of a recession.

Looming as one of the biggest uncertainties is the impact of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Rust said the spill has the "potential for significant job losses" in a vast range of industries — from fish and seafood to tourism to transportation services.

A group of state economists meets next month to sort through the haze and project where Florida's unemployment rate is heading in the coming months and years. "I know it will be a very difficult estimate for them," Rust said.

The group previously forecast the state will likely not return to a more healthy unemployment rate in the mid single-digits until 2018.

Jeff Harrington can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8242.

County-by-county unemployment rates

RegionMay 2010April 2010May 2009
Citrus12.7 percent13 percent11.6 percent
Hernando13.8 percent14.2 percent12.5 percent
Hillsborough 11.5 percent11.6 percent10.1 percent
Pasco12.8 percent13.1 percent11.4 percent
Pinellas11.3 percent11.5 percent10.4 percent
Flagler (highest)15.1 percent15.6 percent14.1 percent
Liberty (lowest)6.4 percent6.6 percent5.3 percent
Tampa Bay*11.7 percent12 percent10.5 percent
Florida11.7 percent12 percent10.2 percent
Nation9.7 percent9.9 percent9.4 percent

* Combines Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties Note: County and Tampa Bay area numbers are not seasonally adjusted. Florida and U.S. numbers are seasonally adjusted.

Source: Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation

County-by-county unemployment rates









































































































































Region



May 2010



April 2010



May 2009



Citrus



12.7 percent



13 percent



11.6 percent



Hernando



13.8 percent



14.2 percent



12.5 percent



Hillsborough



11.5 percent



11.6 percent



10.1 percent



Pasco



12.8 percent



13.1 percent



11.4 percent



Pinellas



11.3 percent



11.5 percent



10.4 percent



Flagler (highest)



15.1 percent



15.6 percent



14.1 percent



Liberty (lowest)



6.4 percent



6.6 percent



5.3 percent



Tampa Bay*



11.7 percent



12 percent



10.5 percent



Florida



11.7 percent



12 percent



10.2 percent



Nation



9.7 percent



9.9 percent



9.4 percent

* Combines Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties Note: County and Tampa Bay area numbers are not seasonally adjusted. Florida and U.S. numbers are seasonally adjusted.

Source: Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation

Florida's unemployment rate drops for second month in a row 06/18/10 [Last modified: Friday, June 18, 2010 11:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. New York town approves Legoland proposal

    News

    GOSHEN, N.Y. — New York is one step closer to a Lego dreamland. Goshen, a small town about fifty miles northwest of the Big Apple, has approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park.

    A small New York town, Goshen approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park. Legoland Florida is in Winter Haven. [Times file  photo]
  2. Jordan Park to get $20 million makeover and new senior housing

    Real Estate

    By WAVENEY ANN MOORE

    Times Staff Writer

    ST. PETERSBURG —The St. Petersburg Housing Authority, which bought back the troubled Jordan Park public housing complex this year, plans to spend about $20 million to improve the 237-unit property and construct a new three-story building for …

    Jordan Park, the historic public housing complex, is back in the hands of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority. The agency is working to improve the 237-unit complex. But the latest plan to build a new three-story building for seniors will mean 31 families have to find new homes. [LARA CERRI   |   Tampa Bay Times]
  3. Coming soon at two Tampa Bay area hospitals: a cancer treatment that could replace chemo

    Health

    A new cancer treatment that could eventually replace chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants — along with their debilitating side effects — soon will be offered at two of Tampa Bay's top-tier hospitals.

    Dr. Frederick Locke at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa is a principal investigator for an experimental therapy that retrains white blood cells in the body's immune system to fight cancer cells. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved these so-called "CAR-T" treatments for adults this month. In trials, 82 percent of cases responded well to the treatment, and 44 percent are still in remission at least eight months later, Locke said. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  4. Regulator blasts Wells Fargo for deceptive auto insurance program

    Banking

    Wells Fargo engaged in unfair and deceptive practices, failed to properly manage risks and hasn't set aside enough money to pay back the customers it harmed, according to a confidential report by federal regulators.

    Wells Fargo engaged in unfair and deceptive practices, failed to properly manage risks and hasn't set aside enough money to pay back the customers it harmed, according to a confidential report by federal regulators.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images, 2017]
  5. McDonald's soft serve in Florida is made with handshakes and happy cows

    Consumer

    Floridians licked nine million McDonald's vanilla cones last year.

    Calves play with a rubber toy at the Milking R Dairy in Okeechobee, FL. Owners Sutton Rucks, Jr., and his wife Kris Rucks sell their milk to SouthEast Dairies cooperative, Edward Coryn of Dairy Mix in St. Petersburg buys it, transforms it into soft-serve ice cream base, and sells it to all the McDonald's. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times