When it comes to adding jobs, the Tampa Bay area is out front, ranking second in the state for job growth year-over-year.
The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater region added 42,800 new private-sector jobs in March 2016 compared to the same period a year ago. The result was a decrease in the area’s unemployment rate to 4.3 percent, according to the state office of economic development. The industries that showed the best job growth were in the professional and business services with 12,400 positions followed by education and health services with 11,000 new jobs.
The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater MSA was first among state metro areas in job demand in March with 47,790 job openings and led the way in demand for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) positions, with 14,950 openings in March. All 24 metro areas in Florida had year-over-year jobs gains in March 2016. Orlando-Kissimee-Sanford led the growth story with 49,000 jobs; a 4.3 percent gain. The Tampa region was second; up 3.4 percent as was third-ranked Ft. Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach with 27,300 jobs.
The state and regional jobs statistics coincided with the announcement by a local manufacturer that said it is expanding its headquarters in Tampa in a move that is expected to add 70 new jobs by 2019.
Beneficial Blends, LLC, which makes, co-packs and distributes organic coconut oil products will be expanding its headquarters at 5505 Johns Road to an additional 24,000 square-foot facility at 5132 Tampa West Boulevard, a few miles north of Tampa International Airport. The Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. assisted the company in getting workforce screening and recruiting services. The new jobs will includes those in sales, marketing, accounting and quality control as well as in production and warehouse facilities.
Overall, the number of jobs in Florida was 8,248,800 in March, up 234,300 compared to a year ago. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.9 percent in March 2016, down from 5.6 percent a year ago. That compares with the U.S. unemployment rate, which stood at 5.0 percent in March.
The unemployment rate for Hillsborough and Pinellas counties each stood at 4.2 percent while the unemployment rates for Pasco, Polk and Sarasota were 5.0 percent, 5.2 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively. The rates for Hernando and Manatee counties were 5.8 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively.