County jobless rate drops a tad

Published: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 03:12 PM.

Franklin County’s unemployment rate took a tiny jump in the right direction in February.

According to preliminary numbers released Friday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the county’s jobless rate for February stood at 6.0 percent, a drop of one-tenth of 1 percent, from 6.1 percent in January.

The unemployment rolls added two people in February, growing from 312 to 314 people in search of work. This decrease in joblessness occurred because the workforce grew by 95 people, from 5,099 to 5.194. The current work force has 143 more workers than one year ago, when it comprised 5,051 workers and the jobless rate was higher, at 6.7 percent.

The February jobless picture tied the county with Sarasota County, for 24th best among Florida’s 67 counties. Franklin was worse for unemployment than Sarasota, Orange, Santa Rosa, Liberty, Jefferson, Calhoun, Clay, Wakulla, Union, Collier, Baker, Seminole, Nassau, Holmes, Leon, Sumter, Broward, Jackson, Bradford, St. Johns, Alachua, Okaloosa, Walton, and Monroe, the state’s best at 3.8 percent.

The unemployment rate in the CareerSource Gulf Coast region - Bay, Franklin, and Gulf counties - was 6.4 percent in February, 1.6 percentage points lower than the year ago rate of 8.0 percent, while 0.1 percentage point above the current state rate of 6.3 percent.

Gulf County had a jobless rate of 6.5 percent, and Bay County 6.4 percent. Out of a labor force of 100,877, there were 6,436 unemployed residents in the Gulf Coast region.

“Given the seasonality of the regional market, we anticipated a lower unemployment rate regionally,” said Kim Bodine, executive director of CareerSource Gulf Coast. “Generally, this time of year brings increased opportunities in tourism and hospitality. It is good to see all three of the counties we serve with lower numbers than last month – but there is much work left to do.”

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