After three consecutive months of moving in the wrong direction, the county’s unemployment rate has now fallen three consecutive months.

After three consecutive months of moving in the wrong direction, the county’s unemployment rate has now fallen three consecutive months.

In April, the county unemployment rate was 3.6 percent, down from 4.4 percent from February and 5.4 percent in January.

Gulf County’s unemployment rate, which was down from 4.3 in April 2016, was just above Franklin County (3.5 percent) and well below Bay County (4.0 percent) among the CareerSource Gulf Coast region.

The region’s 4.0 unemployment rate in April was down from 4.6 percent in April 2016.

Out of a labor force of 100,482 there were 3,974 unemployed during the month of April.

“The numbers indicate great job growth over the year,” said Kim Bodine, executive director of CareerSource Gulf Coast. “We are tracking right along with the state in terms of unemployment rates, and right now that is a great place to be.”

The Panama City Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which includes Bay and Gulf counties, saw an increase of 1,400 employment opportunities, according to the Florida Department of Economic

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.

Industries gaining in jobs in the region over the year were: trade, transportation and utilities (up 300 jobs); professional and business services (up 300 jobs); mining, logging and construction (up 400 jobs); education and health services (an increase of 100 jobs); government (up 400 jobs); and financial activities (up 200 jobs).

Losing jobs was the sectors of leisure and hospitality (down 300 jobs). Manufacturing, information and other services industries were unchanged over the year.

Statewide, in April there were 460,000 unemployed and 244,758 advertised job openings in the state, according to Help Wanted OnLine. That is a ratio of 1.9 job seekers per advertised job, a significant improvement from the ratio of 6.8 job seekers per advertised job from May and June 2009.

The lowest pre-recession ratio was 1.1 job seeker per advertised job, posted in January 2006.

The state’s annual job growth rate has exceeded the nation’s since May 2012; in April 23 of 24 metro areas in the state saw year-over-year job gains.

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.