County unemployment rises a tad

Published: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 03:20 PM.


Franklin County saw a tiny rise in its unemployment rate for December, as it ticked up to the 6.4 percent level.

According to preliminary numbers released Friday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the county’s jobless rate last month rose one-tenth of 1 percent to 6.4 percent, as five people were added to the unemployment rolls, growing them from 346 to 351 people in search of work.

The workforce also shrank by 82 workers, from 5,536 to 5,454, but remained larger than one year ago, when it comprised 5,398 workers, and when the jobless rate was sharply higher, at 8.1 percent.

Because of improvement in other Florida counties, Franklin County ’s jobless picture tied it for eighth best in the state, along with Union, Jackson and Sumter counties. Monroe County , at 4.5 percent, had the state’s lowest unemployment rate, followed by Walton County (5.7 percent), Okaloosa County (5.8 percent), Alachua (6.1 percent), Wakulla and St. Johns counties (6.2 percent) and Leon County (6.3 percent). Many of the counties with the lowest unemployment rates were those with relatively high proportions of government employment.

The unemployment rate in the Gulf Coast Workforce region (Bay, Franklin , and Gulf counties) was 8.3 percent in December, up 0.2 percentage point from November.

The December 2012 rate was 0.4 percentage point above the state rate of 7.9 percent, and 1.8 percentage points lower than the region’s year ago rate of 10.1 percent. Out of a labor force of 98,981, there were 8,228 unemployed Gulf Coast residents. While Bay County ’s jobless rose to 8.5 from 8.3 percent, Gulf County ’s unemployment fell to 7.7 from 8.0 percent.

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