The unemployment rate in the upper Tampa Bay area held steady at 4.3 percent in August, unchanged from July, the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation said Friday. But the combined unemployment rate last month for Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Hernando counties was higher than August 2006, when it was 3.5 percent.
That matches a pattern in the Bay area and statewide, with joblessness creeping up for months, partly because of a slumping housing market. The construction industry has lost 18,500 jobs in Florida since last year, and August was the sixth-straight month of a year-to-year drop in construction jobs - the first time the state has seen that since 1992, the agency said.
Florida's unemployment rate rose slightly again in August to 4 percent, the highest since April 2005.