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Unemployment rises, still below state average

By Tim Croft
The Star

Gulf County’s unemployment rate in July jumped to 7.7 percent but remained below the statewide rate of 11.5 percent, according to numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

The county’s unemployment rate in June was 6.8 percent and was 4.6 percent in July last year. 

The labor force was also down to 90,973, down 6,183 (-6.4 percent) over the year. There were 6,953 unemployed residents in the region. 

In July 2020, nonagricultural employment in the Panama City MSA, which includes Gulf and Franklin counties, was 78,000, a decrease of 3,700 jobs (down 4.5 percent) over the year.  

The industries gaining in jobs over the year were: mining, logging, and construction (up 800 jobs) and professional and business services (up300 jobs).  

The leisure and hospitality (minus 1,900 jobs); trade, transportation, and utilities (minus 1,200 jobs); government (minus 700 jobs); manufacturing (minus 400 jobs); financial activities (minus 300 jobs); information (minus 100 jobs); education and health services (minus 100 jobs); and other services (minus 100 jobs) industries lost jobs over the year. 

“We knew COVID-19 was going to be impactful on our region’s workforce and businesses,” said Kim Bodine, Executive Director of CareerSource Gulf Coast. “It is encouraging to see the unemployment rate decrease from the previous rates we were seeing from March to June, but jobs and the economy continue to be somewhat fragile as we continue to recover from this pandemic.”  

Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 11.3 percent in July 2020, up 1.0 percentage point from the revised June 2020 rate, and up 8.2 percentage points from a year ago.   

There were 1,125,000 jobless Floridians out of a labor force of 9,975,000.  The U.S. unemployment rate was 10.2 percent in July.