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County jobless rate drops sharply

David Adlerstein
The Apalachicola Times

Franklin County’s unemployment picture brightened considerably last month, as the jobless rate dropped by more than 2 percentage points.

CareerSource Gulf Coast serves Franklin, Gulf and Bay counties.

According to preliminary numbers released Friday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in August was 4.8 percent, down by 2.1 percentage points, from the July rate of 6.9 percent.

This sharp drop in joblessness, which followed a rise of nearly 1 percentage point in July, came as 85 people left the unemployment line, which now numbers 216.

The labor force in August rose by 124 workers, from 4,389 in July to 4,513 last month. The workforce remains smaller than one year ago, when it was at 4,740, the jobless rolls were smaller at 166, and the unemployment rate, at 3.5 percent, was better than it is today.

The unemployment rate in the county was better than in Bay County, at 5.1 percent, and Gulf County, at 5.2 percent last month. In Liberty County the jobless rate, at 4.1 percent, was better than here.

Franklin’s improved jobless rate tied it with Calhoun, Glades and Washington counties for 14thbest in the state. Lower rates were seen in St. John’s and Walton, at 4.7 percent; Clay and Holmes, at 4.6; DeSoto, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa at 4.5; Baker, Gilchrist and Union at 4.4, Wakulla at 4.2, Liberty at 4.1, and Lafayette County at 3.4 percent, the best in the state.

Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.4 percent in August, down 4.0 percentage points from the revised July rate, and up 4.4 percentage points from a year ago. There were 753,000 jobless Floridians out of a labor force of 10.1 million. The U.S. unemployment rate was 8.4 percent in August.

Florida’s seasonally adjusted total nonagricultural employment was 8.53 million in August, an increase of 57,900 jobs (+0.7 percent) over the month. The state lost 456,100 jobs over the year, a decrease of 5.1 percent. Nationally, the number of jobs fell 6.8 percent over the year.

August labor statistics reflect the continued effects of COVID-19 and the efforts to reopen businesses and services.

Florida lost 1.18 million jobs from February to April, and has since gained back over half of the jobs lost, with 631,600 jobs returning.

Nine of 10 major industries experienced negative over-the-year job growth in August. The industry gaining jobs over the year was government, with 1,900 jobs, or two-tenths of 1 percent.

The industry losing the most jobs over the year was leisure and hospitality, a loss of 249,400 jobs, or 19.8 percent.

Other industries losing jobs over the year included professional and business services (-69,600 jobs, -5.0 percent); trade, transportation, and utilities (-54,500 jobs, -3.0 percent); other services (-30,200 jobs, -8.5 percent); education and health services (-16,400 jobs, -1.2 percent); information (-12,700 jobs, -9.2 percent); manufacturing (-11,500 jobs, - 3.0 percent); financial activities(-8,100 jobs, -1.4 percent); and construction (-5,500 jobs, -1.0 percent).