Gulf County’s unemployment picture improved in November to 3.2 percent, a drop of two-tenths of 1 percentage point, as the labor force shrank.
According to preliminary numbers released Friday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the labor force lessened by 69 workers, to 5,266, which still totals 300 more workers than at this point last year. Ten people were added to the jobless rolls, which now number 171.
In Nov. 2020, as the effects of COVID-19 pandemic lessened, Gulf County had a jobless rate of 3.8 percent, with 188 people without jobs within a smaller workforce, of 4,966 people.
The unemployment rate throughout the CareerSource Gulf Coast region, which also includes Bay and Franklin counties, was 3.4 percent in November, 0.3 percentage point lower than the region’s year ago rate of 3.7 percent. The region’s November rate was 0.2 percentage point lower than the state rate of 3.6 percent.
The region’s labor force was 97,132, up 5,680 (+6.2 percent) over the year, with 3,258 unemployed residents.
The unemployment rate in Gulf County last month was better than both Bay, at 3.3, and Franklin, at 3.4 percent.
Nonagricultural employment in the Panama City metropolitan area was 81,700, an increase of 3,200 jobs (+4.1 percent) over the year. The professional and business services (+12.9 percent) and mining, logging, and construction (+5.7 percent) industries grew faster in the metro area than statewide over the year.
The Panama City area had the third fastest annual job growth rate compared to all the metro areas in the state in professional and business services (+12.9 percent) in November 2021.
The industries gaining in jobs over the year were professional and business services (+1,300 jobs); leisure and hospitality (+1,000 jobs); trade, transportation, and utilities (+500 jobs); mining, logging, and construction (+400 jobs); and financial activities (+100 jobs.)
The manufacturing (-100 jobs) industry lost jobs over the year. The information; education and health services; other services; and government industries were unchanged over the year.
“There is much to celebrate this holiday season, including a strong economic recovery and an abundance of job opportunities,” said Kim Bodine, executive director of CareerSource Gulf Coast. “More jobseekers have re-engaged with the workforce and local employers are reaching them with innovative recruitment strategies and higher average wages. We continue to see growth in sectors like professional and business services, along with leisure and hospitality.”
Compared to Florida’s 66 other counties, Gulf tied with Baker and Gilchrist for 13th place, behind Alachua, Glades, Martin and Walton, at 3.1; Clay and Santa Rosa, at 3.0; Collier, Nassau, Okaloosa and Wakulla at 2.9; St. Johns at 2.6; and Monroe County, best in the state, at 2.2 percent.