By John Hielscher, Staff Reporter, Sarasota Herald Tribune, 11/16/2019
Education/health services and construction industries lead job growth in Sarasota-Manatee.
Unemployment trickled down last month in the Sarasota-Manatee region, matching its lowest point since early spring.
That tied the unemployment rate posted in April for the lowest so far in 2019.
The Sarasota-Manatee metro area added 5,500 jobs over the year, a 1.8% growth rate that fell short of the statewide average but topped the U.S. increase.
The education/health services sector added 2,500 jobs over the year, a 4.6% growth rate. Construction employers brought 1,800 more workers onto their payrolls, 7% more for the year.
“The construction, and education/health services industries grew as fast or faster in the metro area than statewide over the year,” the DEO said.
Other big job gainers included leisure and hospitality, up by 1,200, or 2.8%; professional and business services, up by 1,100 jobs, or 2.4%; and transportation-warehousing-
But three sectors reported job losses. Government employment declined by 1,000, or 3.6%; financial activities by 600, or 4.0%; and retail trade by 300, or 0.7%.
A variety of local employers were trying to fill positions. A total of 10,704 online ads were posted in Sarasota-Manatee in October, the state said, but that was down by 2,449 from last year. Among the most advertised occupations, as they are most months, were registered nurses, retail salespeople and supervisors, customer service reps, cashiers and supervisors of food preparation and service workers.
Universal Health Services, HCA Healthcare, Manatee Memorial Hospital, Bealls Inc., Southeastern Grocers and Marriott offered the most jobs.
A total of 360,504 workers, including agricultural, took home paychecks in October in Sarasota-Manatee. Another 10,403 were out of work.
In Charlotte County, unemployment dropped to 3.3% last month from 3.5% in September and the year-ago 3.8%.
A total of 69,977 people were working in Charlotte, also known as the Punta Gorda metro area, while 2,376 were jobless.
That county added 1,200 non-agricultural jobs over the year, a 2.4% growth rate. The education/health services sector grew by 300, or 3.1%, while construction increased by 200 jobs, or 4.4%.
The DEO only counts people actively seeking work as unemployed. The local numbers also are not adjusted for seasonal factors the way data is massaged for the overall state and U.S. counts.
Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held steady at 3.2% in October, identical to the September rate and lower than the 3.3% reported a year earlier. There were 331,000 jobless Floridians out of a labor force of 10.46 million.
The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.6%.
“The state gained 228,600 jobs over the year, an increase of 2.6%,” the DEO said. “Nationally, the number of jobs rose 1.4% over the year. With the exception of September 2017, Florida’s over-the-year job growth rate has exceeded the nation’s rate since April 2012.”