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Economy / Business

Tampa Bay's Job Market Is Booming, But Wages Lag

A chart showing the U.S. and Florida's unemployment rates.
This chart shows the U.S. and Florida unemployment rates from January 2009 to November 2019. November's rate of 3.1% was the lowest since March 2006. DEO FLORIDA

Unemployment in the Tampa Bay region hit record lows in 2019. But that number tells only one part of the story of the area's job market.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity says the region added more than 30,0000 private sector jobs in the last 12 months. 

Construction trades added the most, with 8,000 new workers. But construction wages in the Tampa Bay area are lower than the national average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics

RELATED: Read the latest regional economic summary from the BLS (opens as a .pdf file).

The same goes for nurses and retail employees.  The region leads Florida for job demand—openings that go unfilled for an extended period.  Most of those positions are in retail, where turnover is high, and in information technology. IT professionals are more likely to find better paying jobs in Atlanta, North Carolina’s Research Triangle, and other tech hubs. 

RELATED: The in-demand jobs in the Tampa Bay region. 

Pay will be a major political issue in Florida in 2020, as voters will decide whether to raise the state minimum wage to $15  an hour.