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Sunday, Nov 19, 2017
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Tampa area added 12,600 jobs in April

TAMPA - Florida added more than 52,000 jobs in health care and other industries during April as the state unemployment rate continues to decline. The Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater region added 12,600 jobs, making it No. 2 for job growth in Florida, and saw unemployment fall to 8.5 percent from 10.5 percent in April last year. Florida's unemployment rate now stands at 8.7 percent, compared to 10.6 percent in April last year. This mirrors the national trend with the U.S. unemployment figure dropping to 8.1 percent from 9 percent in April last year.
Still, some economic experts added a note of caution to the news. "Some of the percentage decline is exaggerated because the shrinking of the labor force in total," said Sean Snaith, an economics professor at the University of Central Florida. "Payrolls were basically flat, or contracting. The recovery is continuing, but the nature of the economic recovery is not strong enough to really catalyze the labor market into a turnaround." In Florida, sectors adding jobs included private education, health services, transportation, utilities, leisure and hospitality, financial activities and manufacturing. Sectors losing jobs included construction, government and information. A total of 804,000 people were without a job in Florida out of a workforce of 9.26 million. With the turnaround in Florida's jobless rate, workers in the state no longer qualify for extended federal unemployment compensation benefits. Extended benefits that once provided up to 20 additional weeks of compensation were cut off on May 12. Snaith said the economy still suffers from uncertainty over politics in Washington, with an upcoming Supreme Court ruling on health care policy and a presidential election. "I don't know that there's a magic elixir on either side of political spectrum," Snaith said. "But whatever the outcome, some of those questions will be answered … Employers can then know what path they're on and what's the best thing to do now. Even if you don't like the answer."

Information from The Associated Press was included in this report. [email protected] (813) 259-7919 Twitter: @DailyDeadline

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