County unemployment rate takes wrong turn

Published: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 12:54 PM.

Franklin County’s unemployment rate took a big jump in the wrong direction in January.

According to preliminary numbers released Monday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the county’s jobless rate for January stood at 6.0 percent, a hike of seven-tenths of 1 percent, from 5.3 percent in December.

The unemployment rolls added 37 people in January, swelling from 271 to 308 people in search of work. This increase in joblessness occurred even as the workforce grew by 165 people, from 5,157 to 5,092. The current work force has 92 more workers than one year ago, when it comprised 5,000 workers and the jobless rate was sharply higher, at 7.5 percent.

The January jobless picture dropped the county well away from its long-standing position as one of the 10 best counties in the state for unemployment. It was tied in January with Lee and Calhoun counties for 23rd best among Florida’s 67 counties.

Franklin was worse for unemployment than Manatee, Orange, Santa Rosa, Liberty, Union, Clay, Holmes, Nassau, Wakulla, Jefferson, Leon, Seminole, 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 6.5 percent in January, 2.5 percentage points lower than the year ago rate of 9.0 percent, while 0.2 percentage point above the current state rate of 6.3 percent.

Gulf County had a jobless rate of 6.9 percent, and Bay County 6.5 percent. Out of a labor force of 98,613, there were 6,420 unemployed CareerSource Gulf Coast residents.

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