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Tampa-St Pete-Clearwater continue to Rise in Economy

PINELLAS COUNTY Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Metropolitan Statistical Area is continuing to lead the state in the number of over-the-year job gains. The local MSA reported an addition of 38,800 jobs, a 3.1 percent increase. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford MSA came in second with 38,100 jobs, a 3.3 percent gain, and Ft. Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach was third with 24,900 jobs, a 3.1 percent increase.

Pinellas County’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December was 4.2 percent, down from 4.4 percent reported in November and 5.1 percent in December 2014, according to the latest figures from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity released Jan. 22.

The local MSA, which includes Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties, reported unemployment of 4.4 percent in December, down from 4.6 percent in November and 5.3 percent in December 2014. It ranked No. 17 out of the state’s 24 metro areas and divisions.

Pinellas County had the lowest unemployment rate of the counties in the local MSA and ranked No. 58 out of the state’s 67 counties. Hillsborough had the second lowest with 4.3 percent and ranked No. 50. Pasco County ranked No. 31 with 5 percent unemployment and Hernando ranked No. 7 with a 6 percent rate.

Florida’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December was 4.7 percent, down from 4.9 percent in November and 5.4 percent in December 2014. The national rate was 4.8 percent, the same as November, but down from the 5.4 percent reported in December 2014.

“Florida is growing. Businesses in our state have created well over a million jobs in just over five years,” Gov. Rick Scott said in a media release.

December 2015 marked the 65th consecutive month with positive annual job growth, DEO officials said. The industry gaining the most jobs was professional and business services with 51,100 new jobs, a 4.3 percent increase. Education and health services added 44,700 jobs, a 3.8 percent gain, and leisure and hospitality added 43,800 jobs, a 3.9 percent increase.

In Tampa Bay, education and health services industry added the most jobs with 11,300; leisure and hospitality came in second with 11,100 new jobs, and professional and business services added 10,400.

Pinellas County’s No. 1 industry is tourism. At a recent meeting of the Pinellas County Commission, comments were made about the increasing competitiveness of the local job market for the industry.

TradeWinds Island Resorts – the Island Grand and Guy Harvey Outpost – began an employment campaign in January, looking to fill more than 100 full and part-time positions, including housekeepers, cooks, reservations agents and more.

The resorts are investing more than $2.4 million into current and new employees for 2016, with the goal of having all no gratuity based positions starting at $10 per hour. This would make TradeWinds one of the highest-paying employers on Pinellas beaches, according to a media release. For more information, visit www.ILoveMyJobBecause.com .

Leisure and hospitality isn’t the only industry in the local area with increasing job demand. The Tampa Bay area was first in job demand in December with 44,797 openings. It was first in demand for high wage, high-skill science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) occupations with 13,582 openings in December.

“It is exciting that the Tampa area continues to lead the state in job creation with more than 41,000 new jobs over the year,” Scott said. “As more businesses choose to invest in Tampa (area), more Floridians are able to find the opportunities they need to succeed.”

By SUZETTE PORTER 

TBNweekly.com

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