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The unemployment rate in the Tampa Bay region was 2.9% in October, the lowest since November 1999. But as the area’s jobless rate nears record lows, some companies are struggling to find and keep workers.
The monthly unemployment report from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity includes a tally of job postings. It stood at 57,721 in October and has hovered around that mark for most of this year. A stagnant figure means companies are having difficulty filling some jobs.
Many of the postings are information technology jobs, according Dave Sobush, director of policy and research at the Tampa Bay Partnership.
“It’s web development, it’s cybersecurity, it’s network administration,” Sobush said. “IT employers, they start at the very entry level with more jobs than they have people to fill them and it creates a very competitive environment for IT hiring.”
Pay is also a likely reason for so many open jobs in IT. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, salaries for computer-related jobs in the Tampa Bay region are 10% below the national average.
Sobush says the area’s retailers are struggling to hold on to workers.
“Retail is typically classified as somewhat higher turnover than the average job and it may be that folks are consistently looking to have talent they can bring in off the bench and have ready in the wings for employment,” he said.