Gulf County unemployment improves in March

Gulf County’s unemployment rate dropped by more than half a percentage point in March, as 29 people left the jobless rolls.

According to data released Friday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the jobless rate went from 2.9 to 2.3 percent, even as the labor force grew by 51 workers, to a total of 5,332. The county’s ranks of the unemployed dropped to 123 in March.

One year ago, in March 2021, Gulf County had a higher jobless rate of 4.0 percent as 206 people were without jobs within a smaller workforce of 5,211 people.

The unemployment rate in Gulf County last month was better than Bay County, at 2.4 percent, and Franklin County, at 2.6 percent.

Compared to unemployment in Florida’s 66 other counties, Gulf was eighth best in the state, tied with Walton, Santa Rosa, Martin, DeSoto, Clay and Alachua counties.

The lowest joblessness in the state was found in Collier, Nassau and Union, at 2.2 percent; Okaloosa and Wakulla, at 2.1; St. Johns, at 2.0; and Monroe County, best in the state, at 1.7 percent.

Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.2 percent in March, down 0.1 percentage point from the February rate, and down 2.2 percentage points from a year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.6 percent in March.

There were 339,000 jobless Floridians out of a labor force of 10.5 million. Florida lost 1.28 million jobs from February to April 2020 and has since gained back all jobs lost, for a total of 1.44 million jobs.

All 10 major industries experienced positive over-the-year job growth in March.

The industries gaining jobs over the year included leisure and hospitality (+157,900 jobs, +15.1 percent); trade, transportation, and utilities (+109,500 jobs, +6.0 percent); professional and business services (+99,700 jobs, +7.0 percent); financial activities (+36,400 jobs, +6.0 percent); education and health services (+26,100 jobs, +2.0 percent); manufacturing (+21,000 jobs, +5.5 percent); other services (+17,600 jobs, +5.4 percent); construction (+14,900 jobs, +2.6 percent); information (+11,900 jobs, +8.9 percent); and total government (+1,200 jobs, +0.1 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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