Gulf County unemployment sees small increase

Gulf County’s unemployment rate rose slightly last month to 3.5 percent, three tenths of a percentage point higher than in December, 2021. 

According to data released by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the total labor force got slightly larger in December, adding 33 workers and making up for some of November’s losses. This bring’s the county’s labor force to 5,298. 

Seventeen more people were added to the jobless rate, which now numbers 188.

In Dec. 2020, as the effects of COVID-19 pandemic lessened, Gulf County had a jobless rate of 3.2 percent and 160 people without jobs within a smaller workforce of 4,949 people.

The unemployment rate in Gulf County last month was slightly higher than Bay County, at 3.4, and Franklin County, at 3.3 percent. It was almost an entire percentage point lower than the state average, 4.4 percent.

Nonagricultural employment in the Panama City metropolitan area was 82,200, an increase of 500 jobs from the month before (+0.6 percent) and 3,700 jobs (+4.7 percent) over the year. 

Across the state, last year’s fastest growing industries included leisure and hospitality (+14.3 percent), information (+8 percent)dand professional and business services (+5.4 percent).

Compared to unemployment in Florida’s 66 other counties, Gulf tied with Bradford, Duval, Jackson, Jefferson, Pasco and Suwanee for 12th place. Miami-Dade County had the lowest unemployment rate at 1.4 percent, followed by Monroe County at 2.1 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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