In April 2022, Florida’s unemployment rate decreased by 2.1 percentage points over the year to 3.0 percent and continues to remain below the national rate, which is currently 3.6 percent. Florida’s unemployment rate has remained below the national rate for 17 consecutive months and has declined or held steady for 21 consecutive months. As of April 2022, Florida employers have added jobs for 24 consecutive months since May 2020.
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday announced that the Tampa metro area led the metro areas in job gains over the year in financial activities (9,400 jobs), construction (3,600 jobs), and manufacturing (3,200 jobs). The Tampa area also gained the third-highest number of private-sector jobs of all metro areas in the state, adding 77,400 new private-sector jobs over the year, a 6.3 percent increase.
The Tampa area’s labor force grew by 63,373 over the year in April 2022, a 4.1 percent increase. The Tampa area’s unemployment rate was 2.3 percent in April 2022, a decrease of 2.2 percentage points from the year-ago rate of 4.5 percent, marking the lowest unemployment rate in the state.
“Our labor force grew by 30,000 people,” said DeSantis. “The nation as a whole lost 360,000 people from the workforce. When your workforce is expanding and your unemployment is dropping, that’s how you know you have a lot of opportunities. Some of what is powering this is leisure and hospitality. I think what we did by setting the course to be a free state [during COVID lockdowns], the people that wanted to travel only had one main option — Florida.”
Unemployment numbers bode well for the state’s other metro areas too, according to a recently-released report from WalletHub that measures which cities’ unemployment rates bounced back strongest after the pandemic.
Eleven cities in Florida landed on the list, with St. Petersburg ranking the highest at No. 14, followed by Tampa (No. 21), Port St. Lucie (No. 25), Cape Coral (No. 28), Pembroke Pines (No. 30), Jacksonville (No. 33), Fort Lauderdale (No. 35), and Tallahassee (No. 37) to round out the top 50 cities. Notably, St. Petersburg’s unemployment rate is down 16.86% since January 2020 and 53.56% since March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began.
As of the publishing of the report, St. Petersburg’s unemployment rate sits at 2.4 percent, the now second-lowest rate in the state.