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County unemployment creeps back up

Gulf County’s unemployment picture continued to darken last month, rising by more than one-half of 1 percentage point while the labor force shrank.

According to preliminary numbers released Friday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in November was 5.1 percent, up by six-tenths of 1 percentage point, from the October rate of 4.5 percent.

This rise in joblessness, the second consecutive month of rising unemployment, came as 29 people joined the unemployment line, which now numbers 279.

The labor force in November shrank by 38 workers, from 5,546 in October to 5,508 last month. The workforce remains smaller than one year ago, when it was at 5,633, the jobless rolls were smaller at 203, and the unemployment rate, at 3.6 percent, was better than it is today.

CareerSource Gulf Coast

The unemployment rate in the county was better than in Franklin County, which was at 5.3 percent, and on par with Bay County.

Compared to the state’s 66 other counties, Gulf was tied for 19th best, with Bay, Dixie, Liberty and Sarasota County. Counties with better jobless numbers were Baker, at 5.0 percent; Collier and Okeechobee at 4.9; Lafayette at 4.8; Alachua, Gilchrist, Glades, Holmes and Union at 4.7; Martin, Monroe and Walton at 4.5; DeSoto at 4.4; Clay, Nassau and Okaloosa at 4.3; Santa Rosa at 4.1; St. Johns at 4.0; and Wakulla County, the best in the state, at 3.9 percent.

Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.4 percent in November, unchanged from the revised October 2020 rate, and up 3.6 percentage points from a year ago. There were 651,000 jobless Floridians out of a labor force of 10.1 million. The U.S. unemployment rate was 6.7 percent in November.

Florida’s seasonally adjusted total nonagricultural employment was about 8.6 million in November, an increase of 4,000 jobs (less than one-tenth of 1 percent) over the month. The state lost 418,500 jobs over the year, a decrease of 4.6 percent. Nationally, the number of jobs fell 6.1 percent over the year.

Florida lost about 1.2 million jobs from February to April, and has since gained back over half of the jobs lost. All 10 major industries experienced negative over‐the‐year job growth in November, with the industry losing the most jobs leisure and hospitality. Other industries losing jobs over the year included professional and business services; total government; trade, transportation, and utilities; education and health services; construction; information; financial activities; and manufacturing.