Make us your home page
Instagram

Florida jobless rate drops to 4.5 percent as expanding companies scramble to find more workers

Florida's latest employment numbers show further signs of economic recovery.

The state's unemployment fell from 4.8 percent in March to 4.5 percent in April, the lowest rate since November 2007. Nationally, unemployment was slightly lower than the Sunshine State's, coming in at 4.4 percent for April, according to figures released Friday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

Tampa Bay's overall unemployment rate shaved off 0.3 percentage points over the month to hit 3.8 percent for April.

"These kinds of declines are difficult to come by, especially when you look at what happened to the labor force," said Sean Snaith, economist at the University of Central Florida. More people in the labor force, Snaith said, makes it more difficult to hit such lower unemployment levels.

The entire Tampa Bay region saw declining unemployment in April. Hillsborough County's unemployment was 3.7 percent, down from 4 percent in March. Pinellas dropped from 3.9 to 3.6 percent, while Pasco dipped from 4.6 to 4.2 percent. Hernando also saw a drop from 5.4 percent to 5 percent.

Since March, Tampa Bay added 2,300 jobs, and a total of 33,400 since April 2016. Among the sectors with the greatest job growth in the region were professional and business services and construction.

"The Tampa area also led the state in job openings, which means there are thousands of opportunities for Floridians to find the opportunities they need to succeed in Tampa Bay," Gov. Rick Scott said in a release. "We will keep fighting to make Tampa, and our entire state, a top destination for job growth."

Given such low unemployment, one question tugs at expanding companies: Where to find qualified candidates for open positions? ReliaQuest, a Tampa-based cybersecurity company, tackles this by relying on significant training for new hires who might not have the exact skill set the company is looking for. The firm added more than a dozen new employees this past Monday.

"We allow someone that doesn't have that background but has the aptitude and some peripheral knowledge around the area to come and learn the cybersecurity space," said Brian Murphy, CEO of ReliaQuest. "That's allowed us to hire out of a larger pool."

According to Murphy, about 25 percent of new hires for ReliaQuest come from the Tampa Bay area, while the majority relocate from other areas to either Tampa or their Las Vegas location.

While this month's employment numbers are positive, UCF's Snaith said the political climate in the nation's capital is the next front to watch. Lack of progress on issues such as tax reform, he warned, could "(put) us on a slippery slope that could lead to the next recession."

Contact Malena Carollo at mcarollo@tampabay.com. Follow @malenacarollo.

Florida vs.

other states

10 States, including Florida, where jobless rates fell in April. Rates rose in one state and remained the same in 39 and the District of Columbia.

2.3 Percent of unemployed in Colorado, lowest of any state.

6.7 Percent of unemployed in New Mexico, highest of any state.

215,400 Job gains year-over-year in Florida as of April. Only Texas (+258,900) and California (+236,700) gained more.

7.4 Percent of growth in construction jobs in Florida, adding 34,400 in the past year. Biggest percentage gain of any job sector.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity

Florida jobless rate drops to 4.5 percent as expanding companies scramble to find more workers 05/19/17 [Last modified: Saturday, May 20, 2017 12:13am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. New owners take over downtown St. Petersburg's Hofbräuhaus

    Retail

    ST. PETERSBURG — The downtown German beer-hall Hofbräuhaus St. Petersburg has been bought by a partnership led by former Checkers Drive-In Restaurants president Keith Sirois.

    The Hofbrauhaus, St. Petersburg, located in the former historic Tramor Cafeteria, St. Petersburg, is under new ownership.
[SCOTT KEELER  |  TIMES]

  2. Boho Hunter will target fashions in Hyde Park

    Business

    Boho Hunter, a boutique based in Miami's Wynwood District, will expand into Tampa with its very first franchise.

    Palma Canaria bags will be among the featured items at Boho Hunter when it opens in October. Photo courtesy of Boho Hunter.
  3. Gallery now bringing useful art to Hyde Park customers

    Business

    HYDE PARK — In 1998, Mike and Sue Shapiro opened a gallery in St. Petersburg along Central Ave., with a majority of the space dedicated to Sue's clay studio.

     As Sue Shapiro continued to work on her pottery in St. Petersburg, her retail space grew and her studio shrunk. Now Shapiro's is bringing wares like these to Hyde Park Village. Photo courtesy of Shapiro's.
  4. Appointments at Raymond James Bank and Saint Leo University highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers

    Business

    Banking

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Jackson will oversee all of Raymond James Bank's operational business elements, risk management and strategic planning functions. Kackson joins Raymond James Bank after senior …

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. [Company handout]
  5. Cooking passion spurs owner to pull open AJ's Kitchen Drawer

    Business

    TAMPA — After graduating from the University of Tampa in May 2016, AJ Albrecht spent four months traveling around Southeast Asia and Australia.

    AJs Kitchen Drawer offers a wide variety of unique kitchenware items, such as handcrafted knives and wooden items, as well as local gourmet products. Photo by Danielle Hauser