Florida experienced an even better improvement. The Florida unemployment dropped from 10.6 to 10.3 with a 1.3% YOY increase in total non-farm payrolls. Most of the increase in jobs came from the Information, Professional & Business Services and Government sectors.
Here in Tampa, we experienced a drop in Construction jobs and Manufacturing jobs but have gained in Trade & Transportation, Education, Information, Business Services and Government jobs.
The improved job market and outlook during the holiday season are providing confidence in consumer spending. Stores are already reporting that this year's Black Friday and Thanksgiving holiday weekend were record setting and that more people are shopping this year than last; double digit percentage gains in fact.
With more companies hiring in Tampa and more people spending money, the outlook is promising; however, international financial woes continue to create hurdles for the economy. The Euro zone is now focused on Italy and fears a Euro breakdown. Tampa's economy is still dependent on the global market and being the largest port in Florida, the region has even greater risk.
This risk; however, comes with opportunity. On November 20th, the Port of Tampa set a single day record for cruise passengers. It was reported that 12,623 passengers embarked and disembarked on three cruise ships, making it the single busiest day on record. Tampa is the eight largest cruise port in the nation. The port authority is projecting a record setting year of around 940,000 passengers.
The increase in cruise passengers bodes well for the businesses in Channelside and throughout Downtown Tampa and Ybor City. HART (Hillsborough Area Regional Transit) which operates the bus lines and TECO Line Streetcar reported a 5% YOY increase in ridership for October 2011 and a 12% increase for the entire 2011 year.
The outlook is shaping up and along with it, the job market in Tampa. A new restaurant, PDQ, opened its doors on October 30th after hiring 65 employees. The new restaurant concept plans to open up 4 other locations in the Tampa Bay area. Another local restaurant chain in the works is Burger 21. They recently announced expanding Burger 21 to the Orlando market.
These are restaurant and hospitality jobs, but what about technical and professional jobs? In 2011, there were 27 companies that committed to relocating to Tampa Bay, Savtira bringing 265 jobs to Ybor City is among them.
We have seen these up ticks in the job market before, but with a solid growing economy, we can certainly be optimistic about this one. Check out the job openings in Tampa and be sure to sign the Pledge to Support Local Businesses and help keep our hard earned money in the local Tampa Bay economy.