Unemployment improves as workforce expands

Gulf County’s unemployment dropped slightly in May, as the work force continued to expand.

According to preliminary numbers released Friday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in May was 3.9 percent, one-tenth of 1 percentage point better than April, and far better than it was one year ago.

In May 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic began to rage, Gulf County had a jobless rate of 9.5 percent, with 465 people without jobs within a smaller work force, of 4,897 people.

The labor force in May 2021 grew by 74 workers, to 5,344, which amounts to 447 more workers than at this point last year.

Last month, the jobless rolls in Gulf County stood at 207, a drop of six people over April numbers.

The unemployment rate in Gulf County was a tad higher than Franklin, which was at 3.8 percent, and better than Bay County, which was at 4.2 percent.

Compared to Florida’s 66 other counties, Gulf was 13th best, behind Baker, Clay, Franklin and Walton, at 3.8; Martin, Collier and Nassau at 3.7, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa at 3.6; Wakulla at 3.5; St. Johns at 3.2; and Monroe, best in the state, at 3.1 percent.

Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.9 percent in May 2021, up one-tenth of 1 percentage point from the April rate, and down 9.3 percentage points from a year ago. There were 503,000 jobless Floridians out of a labor force of more than 10.3 million. The U.S. unemployment rate was 5.8 percent in May.

Florida’s seasonally adjusted total nonagricultural employment was a little more than 8.6 million in May, an increase of 39,900 jobs (+0.5 percent) over the month. The state gained 566,800 jobs over the year, an increase of 7.0 percent. Nationally, the number of jobs rose 8.9 percent over the year.

Florida lost just short of 1.27 million jobs from February to April 2020 and has since gained back over half of the jobs lost.

Nine of the 10 major industries experienced positive over-the-year job growth in May.

The industries gaining jobs over the year included leisure and hospitality (+234,800 jobs, +30.0 percent); trade, transportation, and utilities (+114,600 jobs, +6.9 percent); professional and business services (+94,600 jobs, +7.3 percent); education and health services (+58,400 jobs, +4.6 percent); other services (+36,600 jobs, +12.4 percent); financial activities (+23,700 jobs, +4.1 percent); construction (+16,500 jobs, +3.0 percent); manufacturing (+11,100 jobs, +3.0 percent); and information (+5,200 jobs, +4.1 percent).

One major industry losing jobs was total government (-28,200 jobs, -2.5 percent).

Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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