Despite more people entering the labor force, Florida’s unemployment rate ticked up a notch in May.
Last month’s numbers also mark the 13th straight month of Florida job growth since the coronavirus crisis economic collapse in April 2020.
On Friday, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity announced that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 4.9% in May, up from 4.8% in April. Still, compared with the 14.2% unemployment rate during the same period in 2020, things are looking pretty good.
Florida still has not yet recovered to the pre-pandemic economic prosperity of February 2020. However, the state has gained back more than half the almost 1.3 million jobs lost during the pandemic’s first couple of months, the department reported.
Florida added about 57,000 jobs in May, in seasonally-adjusted numbers.
The problem is, Florida saw 72,000 more people in the labor market in May compared with April, in seasonally adjusted numbers. So the state’s unemployment rate crept up slightly.
For May, the trade, transportation and utility sectors led the job growth, providing 11,700 new jobs. Florida also gained another 9,200 jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector and 7,400 jobs in the professional and business services sector.
On the other hand, Florida saw net job losses for May in education, health services, and manufacturing.
The Orlando market led the state in job growth last month, adding about 21,000 new jobs as the region’s tourism industry takes off for a post-pandemic summer. The Orlando market had been the state’s hardest-hit; in May 2020, the unemployment rate was 22.6%. A year later, Orlando saw 5.4% unemployed.
Orlando added 111,000 new jobs in a year, with more than half in the leisure and hospitality industries.
Jacksonville boasted Florida’s lowest unemployment rate of any major metro area, at 4.2% in May. That’s down from 11% a year earlier. Jacksonville saw 10,000 new jobs added, with 49,000 new jobs created in the past year.
Last month, Miami held the worst unemployment rate in the state, despite adding 15,000 new jobs. But the unemployment rate was 6.7% in May, down from 10.3% a year earlier. Miami has added 87,000 new jobs in a year.
Among other Florida markets for May:
— Fort Lauderdale logged an unemployment rate of 5.2%, down from 17.4% a year earlier. Fort Lauderdale added 15,000 new jobs, and 61,000 in the past year.
— Pensacola added just over 1,000 new jobs, bringing its unemployment rate to 4.3%. Pensacola’s job base grew by more than 1,000 last month and more than 9,000 over the past year.
— Tampa-St. Petersburg added almost 15,000 new jobs, logging an unemployment rate of 4.6%. Tampa added 100,000 jobs in a year since the unemployment rate was 13.4% at the same point in 2020.
— Southwest Florida’s unemployment rate was 4.6%, down from 13.9% a year earlier. The Fort Myers area shed about 1,000 jobs last month, yet had gained almost 17,000 in the past year.
— West Palm Beach’s unemployment rate was also 4.6%, down from 14.3% a year earlier. West Palm added 6,000 jobs and added about 51,000 new jobs over the past year.