Revisions lead to higher jobless numbers

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Franklin County’s unemployment numbers opened 2021 on a decidedly worse note, as the jobless rolls rose by more than 1 percentage point, as the labor force grew.

According to preliminary numbers released Monday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in January was 4.3 percent, up by 1.1 percentage point from the December rate of 3.2 percent.

This rise in joblessness came as 54 people joined the unemployment line, which now numbers 204.

The labor force in January rose by 112 workers, to 4,797 last month. The workforce remains larger than one year ago, when it was at 4,629, the jobless rolls were smaller at 162, and the unemployment rate, at 3.5 percent, was much better than it is today.

The unemployment rate in the county was better than both Gulf and Bay counties, each of which was as 4.5 percent.

The county’s sharp rise in unemployment numbers was in part due to an annual process, known as “benchmarking” implemented every March when the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity release January employment and unemployment estimates as well as revised historical data.

“Benchmark revisions are a standard part of the estimation process and take place at this time every year in each state nationwide,” reads the state’s announcement, “Due to the unprecedented economic changes that occurred this past year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics updated the statistical models that produce labor force, employment, unemployment, and the unemployment rate estimates. Most of the historical revisions in the labor force statistics can be attributed to this new model. “

Compared to the state’s 66 other counties, Bay and Gulf counties were tied with Bradford, Brevard and Calhoun counties, just ahead of Baker, Glades, Manatee, Okeechobee and Pinellas counties, all at 4.4 percent.

At 4.3 percent, Franklin was tied with Alachua, Sarasota, and Union counties, while Walton was at 4.2; Clay, DeSoto, Martin, and Nassau at 4.0; Collier, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa at 3.9, Wakulla at 3.7, and Monroe and St. Johns counties, tied for best at 3.5 percent.

Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.8 percent in January, down three-tenths of 1 percentage point from the revised December rate, and up 1.5 percentage points from a year ago. There were 482,000 jobless Floridians out of a labor force of 10.07 million. The U.S. unemployment rate was 6.3 percent in January.

Florida’s seasonally adjusted total nonagricultural employment was 8.5 million in January, a decrease of 800 jobs (less than -0.1 percent) over the month. The state lost 571,800 jobs over the year, a decrease of 6.3 percent, similar to the decline nationally.

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

This article originally appeared on The Apalachicola Times: Revisions lead to higher jobless numbers

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