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Jobless rate improves, labor force grows

Franklin County’s unemployment numbers improved slightly in
May, even as the size of the labor force grew

According to preliminary numbers released Friday by the Florida
Department of Economic Opportunity, the preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment
rate in May was at 3.8 percent, two-tenths of 1 percentage point better than
the April rate of 4.0 percent.

This snapshot of joblessness came as nine people left the
unemployment line, which now numbers 190.

The labor force in May grew by 88 workers, to 5,027. The
workforce remains much larger than one year ago, when it was at 4,606.

Most importantly, the unemployment is less than half of what
it was one year ago, in the midst of the raging coronavirus pandemic, when 446
people were on the jobless rolls  and the
unemployment was a whopping 9.7 percent.

The unemployment rate in Franklin
County was a tad lower than Gulf, which was at 3.9 percent, and better than Bay
County, which was at 4.2 percent.

Compared to Florida’s
66 other counties, Franklin tied for ninth best, with Baker, Clay and Walton; behind
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).

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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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