St. Petersburg, FL – December 2023 Jobs Report – Sunshine City Sees Steady Growth with Service Sector Surge

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December 2023 closed out a positive year for employment in St. Petersburg, as part of the wider Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). Job growth continued, albeit at a slower pace than earlier months, reflecting a national trend of moderation. The unemployment rate held steady, indicating a healthy balance between labor supply and demand.


  • Nonfarm employment: Increased by 28,000 jobs (+1.8%) year-over-year, reaching 1,551,800 in December.
  • Unemployment rate: Remained stable at 3.1%, unchanged from November and slightly above the pre-pandemic low of 2.2% in December 2022.
  • Wage growth: Continued, though at a moderate pace. Average weekly earnings reached $1,032 in December, up 4.2% from the previous year.

What Industries and Occupations Grew:

  • Education and Health Services: Led the way with an impressive 8.8% annual growth, adding over 14,000 jobs. This expansion aligns with national trends in healthcare and aging demographics.
  • Manufacturing: Also showed strong growth, adding 3.6% or 2,700 jobs year-over-year. This reflects ongoing strength in sectors like food processing and aerospace.
  • Professional and Business Services: Grew by 2.6%, creating over 5,000 new jobs. This broad category includes diverse fields like finance, IT, and professional services, indicating a healthy business environment.
  • Occupations in high demand: Registered Nurses, Customer Service Representatives, Software Developers, Truck Drivers, and Marketing Specialists continued to see strong growth.

What Industries and Occupations Shrank:

  • Mining and Logging: Remained flat, showing no change year-over-year. This reflects the national trend of a declining industry.
  • Leisure and Hospitality: Grew slightly (0.4%) compared to December 2022, but slower than overall job growth. This sector, impacted by pandemic challenges, is still recovering.

Compare to Same Month Last Year:

  • December 2023 saw slower job growth compared to December 2022’s robust 3.6% increase. This reflects a nationwide moderation in economic expansion.
  • The unemployment rate held steady at 3.1%, indicating continued tightness in the labor market.

Compare to Previous Month:

  • Job growth slowed slightly compared to November 2023, when nonfarm employment rose by 0.8%.
  • The unemployment rate remained unchanged from November.

Future Outlook:

  • Economists forecast moderate job growth in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater MSA in 2024, around 2.0%.
  • Key sectors like healthcare, tourism, and professional services are expected to continue driving job creation.
  • Potential challenges include rising interest rates and inflation, which could dampen economic activity.

10 Growing Occupations:

  1. Registered Nurses
  2. Customer Service Representatives
  3. Software Developers and Computer Programmers
  4. Truck Drivers and Heavy Vehicle Operators
  5. Marketing Specialists
  6. Home Health and Personal Care Aides
  7. Sales Representatives
  8. Elementary and Middle School Teachers
  9. Construction Laborers
  10. Janitors and Cleaners

10 Companies Hiring Now:

  1. Publix Super Markets
  2. BayCare Health System
  3. Raymond James Financial
  4. Jabil Circuit
  5. TECO Energy
  6. HCA Healthcare
  7. Walmart
  8. Lowe’s Home Improvement
  9. The Walt Disney Company
  10. Amazon