The unemployment rate in Gulf County fell by a tenth of one percent in July.

 

The unemployment rate in Gulf County fell by a tenth of one percent in July, making it five out of the past six months that the county unemployment has moved in a positive direction.

Other county economic indicators, such tourist numbers and building, were also headed in the right direction.

In Gulf County, the jobless rate fell to 3.8 percent from 3.9 percent in June, from May to June, leaving it behind Franklin County (3.6), but ahead of Bay County (4.1) within the three-county region served by CareerSource Gulf Coast.

The region unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1 in July.

That is well below the region’s rate in the same month last year, when unemployment was 4.8 percent.

The county’s unemployment rate, as well as the region’s, was below the 4.3 percent unemployment rate statewide, which remained unchanged in July.

Out of a labor force of 103,364, up 1,285, or 1.3 percent, compared to July 2016, there were 4,189 unemployed in the region, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

In July, the Panama City MSA, which includes Gulf County, had the fastest annual job growth rate, when comparied to all metro areas in the state, in the sectors of professional and business services (7.9 percent) and government (3.8 percent).

In July, non-agricultural employment in the Panama City MSA was 86,600, an increase of 1,300 jobs (1.5 percent) in the past year.

“We certainly cannot complain about the increase of jobs and the low unemployment rate,” said Kim Bodine, Executive Director of CareerSource Gulf Coast. “It is good to see so many industries gaining jobs in our area, and we have had non-stop interest by business prospects taking a look at Bay County for expansison or business locations.”

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.

Additional economic indicators in Gulf County reflect growth.

At the end of July 2016 there were 67 new construction residential permits issued in the county with a total valuation of $16.8 million.

As of the end of July this year, 71 permits had been issued with a total valuation of $18.4 million.

Commercial construction, though, was lagging year-over-year, with new commercial valuation hitting $2.5 million through the end of July 2016; the number was just $459,341 as of the end of July 2017.

Bed tax collections in Gulf County through the end of May stood 2.95 percent above the same point in 2016.

Interestingly, Mexico Beach tax collections saw the largest percentage increase of any taxing unit in the Gulf Coast Region, according to CareerSource Gulf Coast.

Collections are tracking 12.45 percent of the prior fiscal year following an increase of 15.49 percent in June alone.

For the CareerGulf Coast region, industries gaining in jobs in the region over the year were: professional and business services (up 800 jobs); mining, logging and construction (up 500 jobs); education and health services (an increase of 200 jobs); government (up 500 jobs); financial activities (up 100 jobs); and manufacturing (up 100 jobs).

Jobs were lost in the trade, transportation and utilities (down 100 jobs); and leisure and hospitality (down 800 jobs) sectors.

Information and other services industries were unchanged.

Job growth in the area has been diverse, according to the labor report.

Industries growing as fast or faster in the metro area over the past year compared to statewide including mining, logging and construction (up 10.2 percent); professional and business services (up 7.9 percent); government (up 3.8 percent); manufacturing (2.7 percent); and financial activities (2.2 percent).

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.