ORLANDO, Fla. — New data shows a growing number of Floridians are returning to work, but the state’s overall workforce remains smaller than before the pandemic.

What You Need To Know

  • Florida unemployment rate at 5.0%; still below national average of 5.9%

  • Orlando area unemployment rate is 6.0% for June, Tampa rate is 5.3%

  • Florida's workforce has about 300,000 fewer people than it had before the pandemic

  • RELATED: Florida unemployment benefits: Changes explained

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity released the June 2021 employment data Friday.

The latest numbers show Florida’s June 2021 unemployment rate grew slightly to 5.0%, compared to 4.9% in May 2021. Florida’s unemployment is still below the national average of 5.9%.

Locally, the Orlando region’s unemployment rate is 6.0% for June 2021, compared to 18.5% in June 2020.

In the Tampa Bay area unemployment is at 5.3% for June 2021, compared to 10.5% in June 2020.

While Florida has 300,000 fewer workers now than before the pandemic, DEO said the state is in its 14th consecutive month of job growth, showing confidence among workers and businesses looking to hire.

“Overall, it’s showing we’re continuing to add jobs to our economy, so businesses are responding to the market, more people are exchanging in the marketplace, they’re buying goods, buying services, so that means they’re needing to add people so they’re adding employment,” said Adrienne Johnston, DEO’s chief of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “You can see in the detail of the labor force growth, it’s a reflection of people who are both confident, they can leave their current employment and find something new.”

Johnston says data is showing confidence moving to a point where people are even leaving their jobs with confidence they’ll quickly find another job, although businesses are finding more pressure to increase wages and benefits as competition for workers increases.

There are 83,000 more people working as of June 2021 in Florida compared to May 2021.

June 2021 marks the first time since February 2019 that all sectors grew jobs.

In the last month:

  • Leisure and Hospitality: 41,500 new jobs
  • Trade, Transportation and Utilities: 8,000 new jobs
  • Education and Health Services: 5,700 new jobs
  • Financial Activities: 3,400 new jobs

What the data does not reveal is the impact of Florida reinstalling requirements individuals use to search for work to remain eligible for unemployment benefits, nor the impact of Florida cutting off $300 weekly FPUC federal extended unemployment benefits.

“At this point we don’t have the specific data on job openings reflecting the month of June, that’s going to come in the next few months from the (U.S.) Bureau of Labor Statistics,” Johnston said. “Once we have that dataset, then we’ll be able to do a more complete analysis to see actually how businesses are both advertising but also filling and actually hiring for those openings.

"We are continuing to see an increase in online job ads, which is an indicator that businesses are growing and they’re adding jobs to their payrolls, and that’s reflected in the June jobs numbers as well," she added. "It’s just a little too soon to see how some of these changes are impacting the jobs numbers at this point."