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County's jobless rate rises

David Adlerstein
The Apalachicola Times

Franklin County’s unemployment picture darkened last month, rising by nearly 1 percentage point as the labor force continued to expand to pre-pandemic levels.

According to preliminary numbers released Friday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in November was 5.3 percent, up by nine-tenths of 1 percentage point, from the October rate of 4.4 percent.

CareerSource Gulf Coast serves Franklin, Gulf and Bay counties.

This rise in joblessness, which followed a similar downturn in October, came as 44 people joined the unemployment line, which now numbers 236.

The labor force in November swelled by 68 workers, from 4,376 in October to 4,444 last month. The workforce remains smaller than one year ago, when it was at 4,539, the jobless rolls were considerably smaller at 130, and the unemployment rate, at 2.9 percent, was considerably better than it is today.

The unemployment rate in the county was worse than in Bay and Gulf Counties, which were both at 5.1 percent.

Compared to the state’s 66 other counties, Franklin was tied with Brevard, Levy and Manatee counties for 29th best. Better job numbers were seen in Bradford, Calhoun, Suwannee and Washington counties all at 5.2 percent; Gulf, Bay, Dixie, Liberty and Sarasota at 5.1; Baker, at 5.0 percent; Collier and Okeechobee at 4.9; Lafayette at 4.8; Alachua, Gilchrist, Glades, Holmes and Union at 4.7; Martin, Monroe and Walton at 4.5; DeSoto at 4.4; Clay, Nassau and Okaloosa at 4.3; Santa Rosa at 4.1; St. Johns at 4.0; and Wakulla County, the best in the state, at 3.9 percent.

Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.4 percent in November, unchanged from the revised October 2020 rate, and up 3.6 percentage points from a year ago. There were 651,000 jobless Floridians out of a labor force of 10.1 million. The U.S. unemployment rate was 6.7 percent in November.

Florida’s seasonally adjusted total nonagricultural employment was about 8.6 million in November, an increase of 4,000 jobs (less than one-tenth of 1 percent) over the month. The state lost 418,500 jobs over the year, a decrease of 4.6 percent. Nationally, the number of jobs fell 6.1 percent over the year.

Florida lost about 1.2 million jobs from February to April, and has since gained back over half of the jobs lost. All 10 major industries experienced negative over‐the‐year job growth in November, with the industry losing the most jobs leisure and hospitality. Other industries losing jobs over the year included professional and business services; total government; trade, transportation, and utilities; education and health services; construction; information; financial activities; and manufacturing.