MANATEE -- Unemployment rose slightly in Manatee County by 0.3 percentage point in January, while it dropped statewide to its lowest point in five years, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
Florida's seasonally adjusted January unemployment rate dropped to 5 percent compared to December's 5.1 percent. Florida's unemployment rate has been at or below the national unemployment rate for 24 out of the last 38 months, according to the DEO release. The national unemployment rate in January was 4.9 percent, down from 5 percent in December.
Manatee County, after months of a dropping unemployment rate, saw an increase from 4.4 percent in December to 4.7 percent in January. Sarasota County also saw the rate rise from 4.3 percent in December to 4.8 percent last month. Hendry County had the highest unemployment rate at 8.4 percent, while Monroe had the lowest at 3.3 percent. County unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted.
Year-over-year, however, both Manatee and Sarasota have improved. In January 2015, 155,008 people were employed vs. the 157,710 employed in January this year in Manatee County. In Sarasota County, 168,099 people were employed last January and 170,855 were employed this year.
In the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton statistical area, manufacturing and hospitals saw the biggest increases year-over-year, with 5.7 and 7.2 percent growth, respectively.
"In the past few months, we have hosted several hiring events for healthcare companies looking to fill multiple positions for RNs, CNAs and HHAs," said Jen Bartolone, spokeswoman for CareerSource Suncoast, an employment agency serving Manatee and Sarasota counties.
The metropolitan statistical area had the state's largest amount of annual growth in the information industry, according to CareerSource Suncoast. Education and government also saw significant growth.
CareerSource Suncoast had 1,214 positions posted on its website as of Monday, according to Bartolone, a year-over-year increase of about 240 jobs. Though Florida's tourist season does impact the labor market, Bartolone said it isn't the reason for the increased job postings on CareerSource Suncoast's website.
"The majority of these jobs are full time permanent, so it's not necessarily the ramping up of seasonal work," Bartolone said.
According to a release from Gov. Rick Scott's office, the Tampa Bay area saw the most growth in the professional and business services and the leisure and hospitality industries. The Tampa area added more than 44,000 private-sector jobs since last January, Scott said.
Janelle O'Dea, business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095 or follow her on Twitter@jayohday.