Franklin County last month saw its jobless rate tick up slightly to 2.9 percent, still among the top 10 among Florida’s 67 counties.
At 2.9 percent in May, one-tenth of 1 percent higher than the April rate, Franklin was tied with Wakulla, Orange, Seminole, Baker and Union counties, just behind Walton at 2.8, Monroe at 2.7 and Okaloosa and St. Johns County, the best at 2.6 percent.
According to preliminary numbers released Friday, Franklin’s jobless rate in May meant 140 people were on the jobless rolls, 16 more than in April, as the labor force grew by 64 workers, from 4,792 to 4,856.
The county’s May rate was six-tenths of 1 percentage point better than one year ago, when it was 3.5 percent and both the labor force, at 4,908, and the jobless rolls, at 170, were larger.
The unemployment rate in the CareerSource Gulf Coast region (Bay, Franklin, and Gulf counties) was 3.2 percent in May, seven-tenths of 1 percentage point lower than the region's year ago rate of 3.9 percent. The region's May unemployment rate was two-tenths of 1 percentage point lower than the state rate of 3.4 percent.
The Franklin County unemployment rate for May was lower than both the state, at 3.4 percent, and national, at 3.6 percent, averages.
“We continue to have good job growth in several sectors. Our job growth rate outpaced most of the state, due in part to our tourism season, but also likely due to the real estate market leading to an increase in professional and business services jobs,” said Kim Bodine, executive director of CareerSource Gulf Coast.
Joblessness in Bay stayed steady at 3.3 percent, while it dropped slightly in Gulf, from 3.2 to 3.1 percent.
Franklin County reported no commercial permits issued but five residential permits issued, compared to seven for the same period last year. Bay County reported 52 residential permits issued in May, compared to 105 for April, with three commercial permits pulled. Gulf County reported 15 residential permits for May, up from 11 in April and 11 in May 2017.
Franklin County’s bed tax collections for March (most recent available) reflect an increase of approximately 32 percent over March 2017 and an increase of approximately 92 percent over February 2018. The Gulf County bed tax collections for April are down approximately 16 percent from April 2017, and down almost 19 percent from March 2018. Panama City Beach’s April 2018 bed tax collections were down from March, but are up year-to-date over 2017.