The Tampa Bay metropolitan area is experiencing robust job growth. The number of jobs climbed by 16.7 percent since 2010, with the addition of 186,000 jobs, says Cissy Proctor, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
In 2016, Tampa businesses created 29,100 new private-sector jobs, according to Florida Gov. Rick Scott, in a written announcement about year-end employment data. Tampa led the state in job openings advertised online, the bulk of all openings, and in jobs in higher-paid fields including science, technology, engineering and math, he notes.
“We’re not surprised,” Proctor says of the Tampa numbers. “Tampa is part of the I-4 corridor, and we know that whole area is a STEM hub of the state.”
A lot of factors are behind the area’s job growth record, including the investment made by area universities and businesses, Proctor says.
Double-digit growth is expected during the next eight years in professional business services, leisure/hospitality and construction, she adds.
The number of jobs in the Sunshine State grew by 251,400 between December 2016 and 2015, an increase of 3.1 percent, state figures indicate. Leisure and hospitality made the strongest showing, with a 4.6 percent increase in jobs. Education and health services, professional and business services, construction, and trade, transportation and utilities also gained jobs.
Twenty-three of the 24 metropolitan areas statewide saw gains in non-agricultural jobs during the year. The largest gains were in Orlando-Kissimmee-Stanford, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, and Ft. Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach.
Job growth statewide has been steady, but was especially strong for the last three years. “We have a very strong economy right now,” Proctor says. “Not only is our job growth rate stronger than the nation, our gross national product is stronger than the nation and our labor force is stronger than the nation.”
Florida’s unemployment rate dipped .2 percent since December 2015, to 4.9 percent, the figures show. Nationally, unemployment was 4.7 percent.
The Tampa Bay region fared slightly better in December, with a 4.5 percent seasonally non-adjusted unemployment rate in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area, figures show. It remained unchanged from December 2015.