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. Tampa man pleads guilty to forging check for fake investment

    Personal Finance

    A Tampa resident was convicted Thursday for forging a check for a fake investment. The Florida Office of Financial Regulation said that Eric Franz Peer pleaded guilty. He served 11 months in jail and will have to pay $18,000.

  2. Minority business accelerator launch by Tampa chamber to aid black, Hispanic businesses

    Business

    A "minority business accelerator" program was launched Thursday by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce geared toward helping black and Hispanic business owners identify and overcome barriers to grow their companies. The accelerator, known as MBA, will provide participants with business tools to cultivate opportunities …

    Bemetra Simmons is a senior private banker at Wells Fargo, The Private Bank. She is also chair of the new minority business accelerator program for the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. [Photo, LinkedIn]
  3. Terrier Tri brings unique triathlon training to South Tampa

    Business

    Over a decade ago, Robert Pennino traded late nights in the music studio for early mornings in the Terrier Tri cycle studio.

    Terrier Tri, a cycling studio in South Tampa celebrates a grand opening on June 27. Photo courtesy of Tess Hipp.
  4. New bistro hopes to serve as 'adult Chuck E. Cheese'

    Business

    YBOR CITY — Inside Cheezy's Bistro and Speakeasy, a new restaurant opening in Ybor City, customers will find a mix of family recipes, games and secrecy.

    Cheezy's Bistro and Speakeasy readies to open in Ybor City. Photo courtesy of Cheezy's Bistro and Speakeasy.
  5. Ramadan having an economic impact on local charities, businesses

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — Dodging the rain, a few families and customers gathered inside Petra Restaurant on Busch Boulevard. Around 8:30 p.m., the adham (or call to prayer) music begins, signaling Iftar, the end of the daily fast. Customers grabbed a plate to dig into the feast.

    Baha Abdullah, 35, the owner of the Sultan Market makes kataif, a common dessert that is eaten during the month long celebration of Ramadan in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]