The local economy continued on its 2013 rebound path in December, with the addition of nearly 3,000 jobs and a 5.7% unemployment rate — the lowest it has been in four years, according to data released yesterday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Hiring in the construction and manufacturing industries drove the improvement in December in the North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota metropolitan area, with a 4% jump in employment in the former and a 5% increase in the latter over the previous month. Employment in the leisure and hospitality industry grew 2% in the same time period.
The December data rounds out a solid year of economic improvement in the construction industry, which employed roughly 32,400 individuals in the metro area during its height. The statistic showing 16,700 employees in that industry in December is the highest it has been since 2009.
But, since that year, hiring in the construction industry has only grown 12% — less than half of the 35% employment growth during the three years prior to the boom in 2006.