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County jobless rate shows improvement

David Adlerstein
The Apalach Times
The Apalach Times

Franklin County’s unemployment rate improved last month, as the county’s workforce slowly recovers from the coronavirus shutdown that began in mid-March.

According to preliminary numbers released Friday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Franklin’s jobless rate in May dropped by one-half of 1 percentage point, from 10.6 to 10.1 percent, with 14 people leaving the unemployment line, which now numbers 429.

The labor force grew by 68 workers, from 4,167 in April to 4,235 last month. The workforce remains significantly smaller than one year ago, when it was at 4,803, the jobless rolls were smaller at 162, and the unemployment rate, at 3.4 percent, was a third what it is today.

The unemployment rate in Gulf County last month was better than it is here, at 9.2 percent, as was Liberty County, where it stood at 6.2 percent, the second best in the state. But Bay County was worse, at 11.4 percent.

Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in May rose to 14.5 percent, up seven-tenths of 1 percentage point from the April rate of 13.8 percent, and up 11.3 percentage points from a year ago. There were 1.4 million jobless Floridians out of a labor force of 9.7 million. The U.S. unemployment rate was 13.3 percent in April.

Franklin’s unemployment rate was higher than 27 other counties, which saw Levy County at 9.9 percent; Hamilton at 10 percent, Clay and Washington at 9.7, Santa Rosa at 9.6; Gulf 9.2; Columbia, Holmes and Taylor all at 9.0; Alachua, Hardee and Leon at 8.8; Gadsden and Suwannee 8.7 percent; Jackson 8.5; Dixie and Okeechobee 8.3 percent; Bradford and Calhoun 8.0; Glades and Madison 7.9; Wakulla 7.8; Baker 7.7; Jefferson 7.5; DeSoto and Gilchrist each 7.1; Union 7.0; Liberty 6.2; and Lafayette County, best in the state, at 5.7 percent.

Florida’s seasonally adjusted total nonagricultural employment was 8.1 million last month, an increase of 183,000 jobs, or 2.3 percent, over the month. The state has lost a little more than 850,000 jobs over the year, a decrease of 9.5 percent. Nationally, the number of jobs fell 11.7 percent over the year.

The industry gaining jobs over the year was construction, which grew by 4,900 jobs, or 0.9 percent. The industry losing the most jobs over the year was leisure and hospitality, which has shed 460,500 jobs, or nearly 37 percent.

Other industries losing jobs over the year included trade, transportation, and utilities (down by 123,800 jobs, or 6.9 percent); professional and business services (down by 104,500 jobs, or 7.5 percent); education and health services (down by 73,300 jobs, or 5.5 percent); other services (down by 34,100 jobs, or 9.6 percent); financial activities (down by 16,100 jobs, or 2.7 percent); government (down by 15,500 jobs, or 1.4 percent); manufacturing (down by 15,200 jobs, or 4.0 percent); and information (down by 11,300 jobs, or 8.1 percent).