County jobless rate shows improvement

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Gulf County’s unemployment improved in February, but remains higher than it was one year ago.

According to preliminary numbers released Friday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in February was 3.9 percent, down by three-tenths of 1 percentage point from the January rate of 4.2 percent.

This drop in joblessness came as 10 people left the unemployment line, which now numbers 201.

The labor force in February rose by 118 workers, to 5,144. The workforce remains larger than one year ago, when it was at 5,132, the jobless rolls were smaller at 188, and the unemployment rate, at 3.7 percent, was better than it is today.

The unemployment rate in Gulf County was higher than in Franklin and Bay counties, which were each at 3.7 percent.

The unemployment rate in the CareerSource Gulf Coast region (Bay, Franklin, and Gulf counties) was 3.7 percent in February, 0.4 percentage points higher than the region's year-ago rate of 3.3 percent. The region's February unemployment rate was 1.3 percentage points lower than the state rate of 5.0 percent.

The labor force was 94,406, up 632 (+0.7) over the year. There were 3,492 unemployed residents in the region

Compared to the state’s 66 other counties, Gulf was worse than Levy, Leon and Jackson, all at 3.8 percent; Franklin, Bay, Jefferson, Manatee, Sarasota, and Suwanee counties, all at 3.7 percent; and Hardee and Washington at 3.6 percent.

Better joblessness was seen in Dixie and Monroe at 3.5. Bradford, Calhoun, Collier and Martin at 3.4; Holmes, Okeechobee and Walton at 3.3; Alachua and Nassau at 3.2; Gilchrist, Glades, Liberty and Union at 3.1; Clay and Okaloosa at 3.0; Baker and Santa Rosa at 2.9; DeSoto, Lafayette and St. Johns at 2.8; and Wakulla, best in the state, at 2.6 percent.

Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in February, down 0.1 percentage point from the January 2021 rate, and up 1.4 percentage points from a year ago. There were 474,000 jobless Floridians out of a labor force of 10.1 million. The U.S. unemployment rate was 6.2 percent in February.

Florida’s seasonally adjusted total nonagricultural employment was 8.5 million in February 2021, an increase of 19,600 jobs (+0.2 percent) over the month. The state lost 560,000 jobs over the year, a decrease of 6.2 percent.

Nationally, the number of jobs also fell 6.2 percent over the year. February labor statistics reflect the continued effects of COVID-19 and the efforts to reopen businesses and services.

Florida lost 1.27 million jobs from February to April 2020 and has since gained back over half of the jobs lost (+709,200 jobs).  The number of jobs in Florida was 8.5 million in February 2021, down 560,000 jobs compared to a year ago.

All 10 major industries experienced negative over-the-year job growth in February. The industry losing the most jobs over the year was leisure and hospitality (-286,200 jobs, -22.4 percent).

Other industries losing jobs over the year included trade, transportation, and utilities (-59,600 jobs, -3.3 percent); education and health services (-58,600 jobs, -4.3 percent); total government (-51,500, -4.5 percent); professional and business services (-35,200 jobs, -2.5 percent); other services (-30,100 jobs, -8.5 percent); construction (-15,000 jobs, -2.6 percent); manufacturing (-10,600 jobs, -2.7 percent); information (-10,100 jobs, -7.3 percent); and financial activities (-4,200 jobs, -0.7 percent).

This article originally appeared on The Star: County jobless rate shows improvement

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