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Tampa Bay-Lakeland
Business Observer Monday, Apr. 26, 2010 10 years ago

March Employment

This week's economic snapshot shows significant job loss in the month of March.

What the data shows: Estimates of non-agricultural employment for each metro area of the Gulf Coast for March. The data is not seasonally adjusted.

What it means: Every area of the Gulf Coast continued to lose jobs in March relative to the same month last year. Since March 2009, the Gulf Coast has lost 56,200 jobs. Of those, nearly 40,000 jobs were lost in the Tampa Bay area, including Sarasota and Bradenton. Statewide, employment declined by 170,700, or 2.3%. Sebastian-Vero Beach posted the biggest percentage drop in March compared with the same month in 2009 (-5.2%). The only two areas of the state that saw year-over-year employment growth in March were Panama City and Pensacola in the Panhandle.

Forecast: The rate of annual employment drops on the Gulf Coast has slowed from nearly 100,000 a year ago, suggesting the labor market's worst period may be over. Compared with February, every area of the Gulf Coast added employment even as the tourism season was coming to a close. That suggests employers may be hiring, albeit at a relatively modest pace. The Panhandle's modest annual employment growth offers a ray of hope.

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