Franklin County’s unemployment rate rose a tad in December, as the size of its workforce shrank, and remained smaller than it was one year ago.
According to preliminary numbers released Jan. 19, Franklin’s 3.3 percent jobless rate in December was one-tenth of 1 percentage point higher than in November. A total of 149 people were on the jobless rolls, one fewer than in November, and the labor force shrunk by 67, from 4,639 to 4,572 workers.
Still, the county’s December rate was more than 1 percentage better than Dec. 2016, when it was 4.4 percent and the labor force was larger at 4,632.
Franklin County’s jobless rate tied it with Hillsborough, Nassau, Manatee and Lafayette counties for 13th best in the state, behind Pinellas, Sarasota, Leon, Clay, Alachua and Walton counties at 3.2 percent, Orange and Seminole counties at 3.1 percent, Wakulla, Okaloosa and Monroe counties at 3.0 percent, and St. Johns County at 2.8 percent, best in the state.
December unemployment in the CareerSource Gulf Coast region, which also includes Bay and Gulf counties, remained below 4 percent in each of the region’s three counties and in total. Data shows that despite a slight increase, the December regional unemployment rate of 3.9 percent is more than a full percentage point better than a year ago, when it was 5.1 percent.
Bay rose from 3.8 to 3.9 percent, and Gulf from 3.4 to 3.6 percent. “While we did tick up a bit from November, we’re definitely happy that our numbers remain fairly steady this winter,” said Kim Bodine, executive director of CareerSource Gulf Coast.
The regional labor force grew year-over-year as did the number of job opportunities. The reported December labor force of 97,047 is an increase of 627 (+0.7) over the year. There were 3,759 unemployed residents in the region.
According to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), the industries gaining in jobs over the year were professional and business services (+600 jobs); mining, logging, and construction (+600 jobs); government (+500 jobs); trade, transportation, and utilities (+200 jobs); and financial activities (+200 jobs). The manufacturing, information, education and health services, and other services were unchanged over the year.
DEO data shows that the leisure and hospitality (-600 jobs) industry lost jobs over the year, even as tourism figures are growing in all three counties.
The Bay County Tourist Development Council recently closed a record-breaking 2016-17 fiscal year, which saw collections go up more than 12 percent over the previous year. Off to the strongest start regionally is Gulf County, where November TDC collections were $73,515, more than 27 percent higher than November 2016 collections. Franklin County closed strong its 2016-17 fiscal year, topping off collections at more than $1.25 million.
CareerSource Gulf Coast provides services to job seekers and employers in Bay, Gulf and Franklin counties; offices are operated in all three counties. Visit www.careersourcegc.com to learn more about professional workforce development and job placement services, all offered at no charge.