The unemployment rate in Gulf County rose by less than half a percentage point during June.
The unemployment rate in Gulf County rose by less than half a percentage point during June, ending a four-month streak of declines.
But, other county economic indicators were on the upswing.
In Gulf County, the jobless rate rose from 3.5 percent to 3.9 percent from May to June, leaving it behind Franklin County as the lowest in the CareerSource Gulf Coast region that includes Bay, Gulf and Franklin counties.
The county unemployment rate remains well below the rate of June 2016 (4.1 percent) and the unemployment rate in the first month of the year (5.4 percent).
The region-wide unemployment rate was 4.1 percent, slightly above May’s 4.0 percent; in June 2016 the region’s unemployment rate was 4.7 percent.
The state’s unemployment rate in June was 4.3 percent.
Out of a labor force of 103,112, up 1,624, or 1.6 percent, compared to June 2016, there were 4,246 unemployed in the region, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
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 200 jobs); professional and business services (up 900 jobs); mining, logging and construction (up 400 jobs); education and health services (an increase of 100 jobs); government (up 700 jobs); financial activities (up 100 jobs); and other services (up 100 jobs).
The manufacturing and information industries remained unchanged.
The leisure and hospitality industry, however, lost 800 jobs over the past year, according to the DEO.
Tourism indicators across the region, though, indicate business is up, said Kim Bodine, Executive Director of CareerSource Gulf Coast.
“According to the Gulf County Clerk’s Office, Tourist Development tax collections are up year over year by close to 3 percent,” Bodine said. “While May collections slipped a bit, April more than made up for the difference, with $172,974 collected this year compared to $148,874 collected in April 2016. “Interestingly, the unemployment rate rose slightly in June over May, and we are trying to understand why.”
Bodine also noted strong residential construction growth in the county.
“In calendar year 2016, there were 99 permits issued for new single-family homes,” Bodine continued. “By the end of June this year, there had already been 68 permits issued, so it looks like Gulf County is on track for a growth in tax base, construction job opportunties and possibly new residents who will spend money here and grow the economy more.”
A report earlier this month from the DEO indicates that all 24 metro areas in Florida showed job gains over the past year.
Areas with the largest gains were Orlando-Kisssimmee-Sanford (up 4 percent); Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater (up 3.6 percent); and Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach (up 4.3 percent).
Nationwide, employment growth this year has averaged 180,000 per months, according to the U.S. Departmetn of Labor.
The average monthly gain in 2016 was 187,000.
In June of this year, non-agricultural employment in the Panama City MSA was 86,800, up 2 percent over the year.
The MSA also had the second-fastest annual job growth among all metro areas in the state in the professional and business services sector (up nearly 9 percent).
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.