TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The latest national jobs report shows 210,000 jobs were added in November, less than half the amount of positions opened in October. In Florida, the October metropolitan area report showed job numbers were growing compared to the year before when uncertainty over COVID-19 ran high, impacting the nation’s economic outlook.

Still, the unemployment rate across the United States dropped to 4.2% from 4.8% the month before.

While we’re not out of the woods yet for business, and the latest job gains were below expectations, Tampa Bay still saw higher job growth than the state and nation in October.

The November jobs report said the number of unemployed persons fell to 6.9 million, a 542,000 change in number. Compared to before the pandemic in February 2020, the number of unemployed Americans is higher than pre-COVID.

“The unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage point to 4.2% in November. The number of unemployed persons fell by 542,000 to 6.9 million. Both measures are down considerably from their highs at the end of the February-April 2020 recession,” the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said. “However, they remain above their levels prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (3.5% and 5.7%, respectively, in February 2020).”

According to the BLS data, 3.6 million workers said they were unable to work in November because their bosses lost business, or closed up shop due to the pandemic.

Those individuals did not work at all or lost work hours in the four weeks the report covers. That said, about 16% of the workers who had lost hours or jobs received at least some pay from their employers for the hours they could not work.

While the number of people working has increased 18.5 million since April 2020, the national nonfarm employment level is still 2.6% lower than before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Tampa metro area had more than 1.6 million jobs in its civilian labor force in October 2021. It was a gain of about 114,000 compared to the previous month. The Tampa area unemployment rate was 3.8%. In the Sebring metro, there were over 200,000 people in the civilian labor force, while the Sarasota area had 386,977. In the Homosassa Springs metro, there were just over 49,000.

Tampa Bay’s metropolitan statistical areas saw job growth month-over-month and year-over-year, even during the ongoing pandemic, with the exception of the Lakeland-Winter Haven metro, which had a marginal decline from September to October. That pattern was different than the year before, where jobs declined more rapidly from September to October 2020.

In the Lakeland metro, only about 80 members left the civilian workforce. In 2020, more than 3,000 did.

The next employment report from BLS will come on Jan. 7, 2022 and dive into December’s unemployment numbers and job growth. The next metro area report on individual market job gains and drops comes in January.