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June unemployment jumps to 3.5 percent in Pinellas

Pinellas County’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate climbed to 3.5 percent in June – up from 3.1 percent reported in May, but still better than 3.8 percent in the same month last year.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity released the latest figures July 20.

Florida’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for June was 3.9 percent, up from 3.4 percent in May, but still lower than 4.3 percent in June 2017. The U.S. rate was 4.2 percent compared to 3.6 percent in May and 4.5 percent in June last year.

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Metropolitan Statistical Area also experienced a jump in unemployment going from 3.3 percent in May to 3.8 percent in June. The unemployment rate reported for June 2017 was 4.1 percent.

A higher unemployment rate means more people are without jobs. In Pinellas, the labor force was 501,276 in June and 17,632 were unemployed. In May, the labor force was 499,482 and 15,490 were reportedly in need of a job. In June 2017, the county’s labor force was 491,869 and 18,902 were unemployed.

The labor force for the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater MSA was nearly 1.55 million in June with 58,071 reportedly without a job. In May, the labor force was nearly 1.54 million and 50,051 were unemployed. In June last year, the labor force was about 1.52 million with 62,403 without a job.

Still, the local MSA has created the second highest number of private sector jobs in the last year compared to the rest of the state. In June, 22 out of the state’s 24 metro areas reported over-the-year job gains. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford had the most, 44,100 new jobs, which is a 3.6 percent increase. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater added 28,000 jobs, a 2.2 percent bump, and Jacksonville added the third highest number of new jobs, 21,300, a 3.1 percent increase.

The industries with the highest growth in the local MSA were leisure and hospitality with 8,300 new jobs, and education and health services with 7,900 new jobs.

Businesses throughout the state created 16,900 new jobs in June, bringing the number of new private-sector jobs in the state to more than 1.55 million since December 2010.

The industries gaining the most jobs statewide were leisure and hospitality with 41,700 new jobs; construction with 33,100 new jobs; professional and business services with 22,800 new jobs; and education and health services adding 19,100 jobs.

The local MSA continues to rank No. 1 in the state in job demand in with 42,168 openings in June, and it ranked No. 1 in demand for high skill, high wage STEM jobs with 14, 556 opening.

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater MSA tied with Cape Coral-Fort Myers for No. 16 rank among the state’s 24 MSAs and Metropolitan Divisions. The Villages MSA ranked No. 1 with 5.7 percent unemployment, the highest in the state. Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin MSA ranked No. 24 with the lowest unemployment rate, 3.1 percent.

Pinellas tied with Clay, Wakulla and Nassau counties for the No. 57 rank out of the state’s 67 counties. Hillsborough County, which also is part of the local MSA, was one of seven counties with a rank of 46 with an unemployment rank of 3.7 percent.

The other counties included in the local MSA are Pasco and Hernando. Pasco tied with six other counties for the rank of No. 23 with an unemployment rate of 4.2 percent. Hernando County was one of three counties with the rank of No. 7 with an unemployment rate of 4.9 percent.

Hendry continues to rank No. 1 with the highest unemployment rate in the state, 7 percent. St. Johns and Okaloosa counties tied for the rank of No. 66 with the lowest unemployment rate, 3.1 percent.

Suzette Porter is TBN’s Pinellas County editor. She can be reached at