TALLAHASSEE — After staying the largely unchanged during the summer months, Florida's September unemployment dropped to 10.6% from 10.7% in August. However, areas on the Gulf Coast saw slightly greater improvement, with Tampa Bay leading the way.
According to jobs data released today from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, unemployment numbers not seasonally adjusted fell in each of the four Gulf Coast Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) covered by the Business Review.
Unemployment is lowest in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater MSA at 10.8%. This is an improvement from 11% in August, and 12.2% from a year ago. Similarly, in the North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota area, unemployment fell to 10.9%, an improvement of 0.2% from a month ago and a 1.8% improvement from a year ago. Although unemployment fell, the number of workers employed in the North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota market actually fell 600 from August, a decline of 0.3% that could be attributed to seasonal fluctuations.
The Naples-Marco Island and Cape Coral-Fort Myers MSAs also saw unemployment decrease, although their rates remain higher at 11.4% and 11.2%, respectively. The Naples-Marco Island area saw the greatest unemployment drop of the four MSAs, an improvement of 0.5% from August to September. Naples-Marco Island's unemployment was 13% in September 2010, and Cape Coral-Fort Myers' was 13.2%.
Of the eight Gulf Coast counties covered by the Business Review, Pasco County and Collier County have the highest unemployment rates, at 11.7% and 11.4%, respectively, and Pinellas and Hillsborough counties had the lowest, at 10.3% and 10.5%, respectively.
Although statewide employment gains are modest from month-to-month, the annual improvements from September 2010 show the Florida economy gaining 93,500 jobs in seasonally adjusted data. Likewise, Florida's unemployment has dropped 1.3% from January and is down 1.1% from September 2010. Florida is outperforming the U.S. in job gains, for national unemployment rose 0.1% in September.