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The county unemployment rate continued a downward descent in March, falling by three-tenths a percent after a half point drop in February.

The March unemployment rate in Gulf County was 3.7 percent, according to a release from CareerSource Gulf Coast.

Over the past two months the unemployment rate has fallen from January’s 4.4 percent.

The unemployment rate in March 2017 was 3.8 percent.

The region, which also includes Bay and Franklin counties, saw unemployment fall to 3.6 percent overall, down from 4.0 in February and well below the 4.2 percent of March 2017.

The state unemployment rate for March was above the region’s at 3.9 percent, unchanged from February, but down a half percentage point compared to February 2017.

There were 400,000 jobless Floridians out of a labor force over over 10 million.

The nation’s unemployment rate in March was 4.1, unchanged from February.

Out of a regional labor force of 100,692, which was up 1.7 percent, or 1,679 from last year, there were 3,675 unemployed.

“We are getting a lot of job orders from employers looking to hire for the tourism season in Gulf County,” said Kim Bodine, Executive Director for CareerSource Gulf Coast.

“If you are looking for work just go to our website careersourcegc.com and register with usd to search thousands of jobs.”

With the height of the tourist season still to come, the CareerSource release also noted that Gulf County bed tax collections were up over 35 percent in January while bed tax revenue was up 19 percent in Mexico Beach.

Bed taxes were up also up by double digits in Bay and Franklin coun ties for the month of January.

In March 2018, non-agricultural employment within Panama City MSA, which also includes Gulf County, was 85,700, up 1,700 jobs, or 2 percent, over the year.

The Panama City MSA had the third-fastest annual job growth in Florida in the professional and business services sector, 5.5 percent in March.

In addition, the mining, logging and construction (8 percent), financial activities (4.5 percent), leisure and hospitality (4.2 percent), and trade, transportation, and utilities (1.8 percent) also grew faster than in the Panama City MSA than statewide year over year.

Industries gaining jobs over the past year included professional and business services (up 600 jobs); education and health services (up 100 jobs); leisure and hospitality (up 600 jobs); mining, logging and construction (up 600 jobs), trade, transportation and utilities (up 300 jobs); and financial activities (up 200 jobs).

According to the DEO, the manufacturing (down 200 jobs), government (down 200 jobs); and information industries (down 100 jobs) all lost jobs over the past year.

The other services industry was unchanged.

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.

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.