Franklin County saw a slight rise in its unemployment rate in May, but the county was poised as the fourth best in the state for joblessness.
According to preliminary numbers released Friday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the county’s jobless rate in May rose two-tenths of 1 percent, from 5.0 to 5.2 percent. The unemployment rolls added 17 people, growing from 273 to 290 people in search of work.
The increase in joblessness occurred even as the workforce grew by 67 workers, from 5,457 to 5,524, which is larger than one year ago, when it comprised 5,365 workers, and when the jobless rate was sharply higher, at 6.5 percent.
Franklin County’s jobless picture placed it just a few notches behind Monroe County, at 4.0 percent, the state’s lowest unemployment rate. This was followed by Walton (4.1 percent) and Okaloosa (4.8 percent). Many of the counties with the lowest unemployment rates were those with relatively high proportions of government employment. Strong population growth was also a contributing factor.
Franklin had the lowest unemployment rate in the tri-county Gulf Coast Workforce region. Bay County’s jobless rate remained steady at 6.3 percent, while Gulf County’s increased from 6.4 to 6.6 percent.
Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.1 percent in May 2013, the lowest since Sept. 2008 when it was 7.0 percent. The May rate was down 0.1 percentage point from the April rate of 7.2 percent and was 1.7 percentage points lower than the year-ago rate of 8.8 percent. There were 671,000 jobless Floridians out of a labor force of 9.4 million.
The U.S. May unemployment rate was 7.6 percent. Florida’s unemployment rate was 0.5 percentage point lower than the U.S. rate and was below the national rate for the third consecutive month.