After three consecutive months of moving in the wrong direction, the county’s unemployment dropped for the second-straight month in March.

After three consecutive months of moving in the wrong direction, the county’s unemployment dropped for the second-straight month in March.

In March, the county unemployment rate was 3.7 percent, down from 4.4 percent from February and 5.4 percent in January.

In fact, Gulf County’s unemployment rate was the lowest among the CareerSource Gulf Coast region, which also includes Bay and Franklin counties.

Franklin County was at 3.9 percent and Bay at 4.4 percent.

The region’s 4.3 unemployment rate in March was the same as the state’s and was 0.4 percent lower than in March 2016.

Out of a labor force of 101,062 there were 4,355 unemployed during the month of March.

“Even though we know that the numbers in our rural counties don’t always capture the true unemployment situation, it is good to see year-over-year improvemernt in the unemployment rate regionally,” said Kim Bodine, Executive Director of CareerSource Gulf Coast.

Noteworthy is that the unemployment rate does not reflect those unemployed who are no longer receiving unemployment benefits nor does it include those who have stopped seeking employment.

The Panama City Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Bay and Gulf counties, saw the number of jobs increase by 1,500 compared to March of last year.

In three job sectors, the MSA out-paced the state in jobs created in three sectors: professional and business services (up 3.8 percent); trade, transportation and utilities (up 3 percent); and government (up 2.1 percent).

Industries gaining in jobs over the year were: trade, transportation and utilities (up 500 jobs); professional and business services (up 400 jobs); mining, logging and construction (up 300 jobs); education and health services (an increase of 300 jobs); government (up 300 jobs); and financial activities (up 100 jobs).

Losing jobs were the sectors of leisure and hospitalitity (down 200 jobs); manufacturing (down 100 jobs); and information (down 100 jobs).

“It’s great to see that we are up over last year in many sectors, although we have lost some jobs in manufacturing locally,” Bodine said. “We are very glad to be building new advanced manufacturing jobs in the region with GKN Aerospace.”

GKN Aerospace is hiring for its new manufacturing facility in Panama City, with two jobs fairs in the next week.

The second is 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. CT and 2-4 p.m. CT today at CareerSource Gulf Coast located at 625 U.S. 231 in Panama City. All job seekers should begin the application process now at CareerSourceGC.com/GKN.

CareerSource Gulf Coast provides services to job seekers and employers in Bay, Gulf and Franklin counties.

CareerSource Gulf Coast operates offices in all three counties. Visit www.careersourcegc.com to learn more about professional workforce development and job placement services, all offered free of charge.