County’s jobless rate shows marked improvement

Gulf County’s unemployment numbers took a nice nosedive in
September, down six-tenths of 1 percent to 3.4 percent.

According to preliminary numbers released Oct. 22 by the Florida
Department of Economic Opportunity, the drop in the seasonally adjusted unemployment
rate took place as the labor force shrank by 35 workers, to 5,365, which still amounts
to 265 more workers than at this point last year.

In Sept. 2020, as the initial effects of COVID-19 pandemic began
to lessen, Gulf County had a jobless rate of 5.1 percent, with 259 people
without jobs within a smaller workforce, of 5,110 people.

In Sept. 2021, the jobless rolls in Gulf County stood at 184
unemployed, a decline of 32 people over August numbers.

The unemployment rate in Gulf County was
better than both Franklin and Bay counties, which were each at 3.6 percent.

Compared to Florida’s
66 other counties, Gulf tied with Martin and Walton for eighth place, behind
Clay and Santa Rosa, at 3.3; Nassau and Okaloosa, at 3.2; Wakulla at 3.1; St.
Johns at 2.9; and Monroe County, best in the state, at 2.6 percent.

Florida’s statewide jobless rate was 4.9 percent in
September, down 0.1 percentage point from the August 2021 rate, and down 2.3
percentage points from a year ago. There were 517,000 jobless Floridians out of
a labor force of nearly 10.6 million. The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.8
percent in September.

Florida’s seasonally adjusted total nonagricultural
employment was 8.87 million in September 2021, an increase of 84,500 jobs (+1.0
percent) over the month. The state gained 405,900 jobs over the year, an increase
of 4.8 percent, while nationally, the number of jobs rose 4.0 percent over the

The Sept. 2021 total nonagricultural employment has not
reached the pre-pandemic levels in February 2020.

The industries gaining jobs over the year included leisure
and hospitality (+143,400 jobs, +14.9 percent); professional and business services
(+73,600 jobs, +5.4 percent); trade, transportation, and utilities (+53,300
jobs, +3.0 percent); education and health services (+46,400 jobs, +3.6
percent); financial activities (+29,100 jobs, +4.9 percent); other services
(+27,200 jobs, +8.6 percent); construction (+19,500 jobs, +3.5 percent);
manufacturing (+12,500 jobs, +3.3 percent); and information (+6,800 jobs, +5.2

One major industry losing jobs was total government (-5,500
jobs, -0.5 percent). 

Meet the Editor

Wendy Weitzel, The Star’s digital editor, joined the news outlet in August 2021, as a reporter covering primarily Gulf County.

Prior to then, she interned for Oklahoma-based news wire service Gaylord News and for Oklahoma City-based online newspaper during her four years at the University of Oklahoma, from which she graduated in May with degrees in online journalism and political science.

While at OU, Weitzel was selected as Carnegie-Knight News21 Investigative Fellow among 30 top journalism students from around the country. She also was senior editor managing a 12-person newsroom in coordination with Oklahoma Watch, a non-profit news organization in eastern Oklahoma.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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