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Tampa Bay Partnership finds slightly better employment outlook in region than Florida

Women are disproportionately affected by job losses.

The Tampa Bay Partnership estimates the Tampa Bay region is faring slightly better than other regions and the state as a whole in terms of unemployment stemming from the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The group released an analysis Wednesday outlining five weeks of unemployment claims totaling more than 100,000 as of April 4, the most recent date for which Florida Department of Economic Opportunity data was available at the time of the study.

The analysis found the Tampa Bay region is faring better than Orlando, South Florida and the state as a whole with a smaller percentage of residents who filed claims, 4.39%.

Unemployment related to the pandemic is felt the most among women and younger, less educated residents. Women have filed nearly 61% of the region’s claims while people younger than 34 have filed nearly 42% and people with a high school diploma or less have filed nearly 40% of claims in the region.

All of those percentages significantly exceed the demographics’ overall share of the Tampa Bay workforce.

Not surprisingly, hardest hit industries including restaurants and hospitality make up a disproportionate amount of unemployment claims compared with the overall presence in the local workforce with nearly 59% of all claims coming from those industries, which makes up just 26% of the overall workforce.

The analysis also shows a potential disproportionate effect on low-income and minority communities with claims concentrated in urban and working-class neighborhoods. Some of the unemployment hot spots include Holiday, New Port Richey, West Tampa, Town ’N Country and central St. Petersburg.

The Partnership developed an interactive map tracking unemployment trends in the region by zip code.

The research is a collaboration between the Partnership, the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, United Way Suncoast and the University of South Florida Muma College of Business.

It’s the latest in a series of “State of the Region: COVID-19 Community Reports.”

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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