Unemployment drops, but labor force shrinks


The size of Franklin County’s labor force shrank, even as the unemployment picture improved slightly in July.

According to preliminary numbers released Friday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in July was at 4.4 percent, two-tenths of 1 percentage point below the June rate of 4.6 percent.

This snapshot of joblessness came as 13 people left the unemployment line, which now numbers 222.

The size of the labor force in July diminished by 63 workers, to 5,093. Still, the workforce remains larger than one year ago, when it was at 4,707.

The unemployment is significantly better than what it was one year ago, in the midst of the raging coronavirus pandemic, when 312 people were on the jobless rolls and the unemployment was at 6.6 percent.

The unemployment rate in Franklin County was a tad worse than Gulf, which was at 4.2 percent, and than Bay County, which was at 4.3 percent.

Compared to Florida’s 66 other counties, Franklin tied for 12th best, together with Baker, Brevard, Collier, Pinellas and Santa Rosa. They were behind Bay at 4.3; Clay, Gulf and Santa Rosa, at 4.2; Martin, Wakulla and Walton, at 4.1; Nassau at 4.0; Okaloosa at 3.9; St. Johns at 3.6; and Monroe, best in the state, at 3.1 percent.

Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.1 percent in July 2021, up one-tenth of 1 percentage point from the June 2021 rate, and down 6.4 percentage points from a year ago. There were 530,000 jobless Floridians out of a labor force of 10.48 million. The U.S. unemployment rate was 5.4 percent in July.

Florida’s seasonally adjusted total nonagricultural employment was 8.76 million in July 2021, an increase of 68,100 jobs (+0.8 percent) over the month. The state gained 356,700 jobs over the year, an increase of 4.2 percent. Nationally, the number of jobs rose 5.2 percent over the year.

The July 2021 total nonagricultural employment has not reached the pre-pandemic levels in Feb. 2020. Florida lost 1.27 million from February to April 2020, and has since gained back 953,400 jobs, over half of the jobs lost.

Nine of the 10 major industries experienced positive over-the-year job growth in July.  The industries gaining jobs over the year included leisure and hospitality (+137,800 jobs, +14.6 percent); professional and business services (+63,200 jobs, +4.7 percent); trade, transportation, and utilities (+58,000 jobs, +3.3 percent); education and health services (+41,100 jobs, +3.2 percent); other services (+30,900 jobs, +9.9 percent); financial activities (+22,000 jobs, +3.7 percent); construction (+12,400 jobs, +2.2 percent); manufacturing (+9,600 jobs, +2.6 percent); and information (+6,700 jobs, +5.3 percent).

One major industry losing jobs was total government (-23,200 jobs, -2.1 percent). 



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