County unemployment rate goes up

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Franklin County’s steadily improving unemployment picture took a nose dive last month, rising by nearly one-half of 1 percentage point while the labor force shrank.

According to preliminary numbers released Friday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in October was 4.5 percent, up by four-tenths of 1 percentage point, from the September rate of 4.1 percent.

This rise in joblessness, which followed sharp improvements over the previous two months, came as 16 people joined the unemployment line, which now numbers 199.

The labor force in October shrank by 35 workers, from 4,418 in September to 4,383 last month. The workforce remains smaller than one year ago, when it was at 4,567, the jobless rolls were considerably smaller at 131, and the unemployment rate, at 2.9 percent, was considerably lower than it is today.

The unemployment rate in the county was better than in either Bay County or Gulf County, which were at 4.6 and 4.7 percent, respectively.

The unemployment rate in the CareerSource Gulf Coast region, which also includes Bay and Gulf counties) was 4.6 percent in October, 1.5 percentage points higher than the region's year ago rate of 3.1 percent. The region's October unemployment rate was 1.8 percentage points better than the state rate of 6.4 percent.

The labor force was 91,735, down 2,470, or 2.6 percent, over the year, with 4,210 unemployed residents in the region.

“Seasonal hiring is underway and we’re seeing many local retailers prepare for a busy holiday season,” said Kim Bodine, executive director of CareerSource Gulf Coast. “Although we are seeing some job loss from this time a year ago, we still have employers actively recruiting in all industries. There are ample opportunities within our region for lucrative employment.”

The CareerSource Gulf Coast job centers continue to see an increase in individuals looking for employment opportunities. Many clients who had been drawing unemployment benefits, are transitioning back into employment, whether from exhausting benefits or regaining confidence in returning to work.

Each year, the maximum number of weeks available to Reemployment Assistance claimants is calculated based on the average unemployment rate for the most recent third calendar year quarter. The maximum duration of benefits is 12 weeks if this statewide average unemployment rate is at or below 5 percent.

An additional week is added to the maximum duration for each 0.5 percentage point increment in the statewide average unemployment rate above 5 percent.

The maximum number of weeks available to claimants filing for Reemployment Assistance after Jan. 1, 2021 is calculated based on the three-month average statewide unemployment rate for the months of July, August and September 2020.

The average 2020 third quarter statewide unemployment rate is 8.6 percent. Based on this, the expected maximum number of benefit weeks for claimants filing for Reemployment Assistance next year will be 19 weeks.

This article originally appeared on The Apalachicola Times: County unemployment rate goes up

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