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County jobless rate skyrockets

David Adlerstein
The Apalach Times
The Apalach Times

Due to the corona virus shutdowns ordered beginning in mid-March, Franklin County’s unemployment rate more than doubled in April, although it still remains better than the statewide average.

According to preliminary numbers released May 22. Franklin’s jobless rate in April shot up from 4.1 to 10.3 percent, with 236 people joining the jobless rolls, which now number 425.

The labor force shrank by a whopping 451 workers, from 4,585 in March to 4,136 last month.

The workforce is now significantly smaller than one year ago, when it was at 4,678, the jobless rolls were smaller at 162, and the unemployment rate was a third what it is today, at just 3.5 percent.

The unemployment rate in Gulf County last month was better than here, at 9.3 percent, as was Liberty County, where it rose from 4.8 to just 7 percent. But Bay County was far worse, at 12.8 percent.

Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 12.9 percent in April, up 8.5 percentage points from March 2020 rate of 4.4 percent, and up 9.6 percentage points from a year ago. There were 1.22 million jobless Floridians out of a labor force of 9.4 million. The U.S. unemployment rate was 14.7 percent in April.

Florida’s seasonally adjusted total nonagricultural employment was 7.9 million last month, a drop of 1.1 million jobs, or nearly 12 percent, over the month. The state lost a little more than 1 million jobs over the year, a decrease of 11.3 percent. Nationally, the number of jobs fell 12.9 percent over the year.

The industry losing the most jobs over the year was leisure and hospitality, with a statewide drop of 520,200 jobs, or 41.5 percent.

Other industries losing jobs over the year included trade, transportation, and utilities ( a loss of 145,100 jobs, or 8.1 percent; professional and business services ( a decline of 117,400 jobs, or 8.5 percent); education and health services( a loss of 90,600 jobs, or 6.8 percent); other services (a decline of 61,700 jobs, or 17.5 percent); manufacturing ( a drop of 24,900 jobs, or 6.5 percent); government ( a decline of 20,900 jobs, or 1.9 percent); financial activities ( a loss of 17,100 jobs, or 2.9 percent); information ( a decline of 10,400 jobs, or 7.4 percent); and construction ( a drop of 900 jobs, or 0.2 percent).

Franklin’s unemployment rate was higher than 27 other counties, which saw Clay and Washington counties at 10.2 percent; Hamilton at 10 percent, Columbia at 9.6 percent; Gulf 9.4 percent; Holmes 9.2 percent; Alachua 9.0 percent; Bradford and Suwannee 8.5 percent; Gilchrist and Leon County 8.2 percent; Calhoun, Hardee, Madison and Okeechobee 8.1 percent; Jackson 8.0 percent; Dixie 7.9 percent; Taylor and Wakulla 7.8 percent; Jefferson 7.7 percent; Baker and Gadsden 7.6 percent; Union 7.5 percent; DeSoto 7.4 percent; Glades 7.2 percent; Liberty 7.0 percent; and Lafayette County, best in the state, at 5.5 percent.