Gulf Coast jobless rates are up from last month, as well as this time last year.
In terms of unemployment, every county in the Business Review's coverage area — Charlotte, Collier, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, and Sarasota — is worse off now compared to a year ago and higher than the state average.
The statewide jobless rate stands at 11.5%, according to the Agency for Workforce Innovation. That's slightly higher than last month's 11.4% rate, but nearly a full percentage point above July 2009's number (10.8%).
The sustained struggles of the state's job markets are costing taxpayers. “In less than three weeks, we have paid more than $294 million to nearly 279,000 unemployed workers,” explained Cynthia Lorenzo, AWI director.
Lee County continues to suffer from the highest rate of joblessness within the Business Review's coverage area, with 13.2% unemployment. Following behind it are Collier (13.1%), Pasco (12.9%), Charlotte (12.6%), Manatee (12.4%), Hillsborough (12.2%), and Pinellas and Sarasota (both at 11.8%).
If there's any silver lining to this latest cloud of news, it's that five of those eight counties saw increases in the number of paid jobs, despite those gains having been outpaced by growth in the labor force.
Hillsborough (1,716 jobs gained) saw the highest increase, followed by Pinellas (1,282), Pasco (559), Sarasota (311), and Manatee (269 jobs gained).