Franklin County’s unemployment rate took a sharp jump in January, rising by nearly 1 percentage point to 3.6 percent, as 43 people joined the jobless rolls.
According to data released March 14 by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the total labor force grew by 66 workers, to a total of 4,623. The county’s ranks of the unemployed rose to 168, as the jobless rate increased from 2.7 percent in December.
One year ago, in Jan. 2021, as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were lessening, Franklin County had a much higher jobless rate of 5.2 percent as 236 people without jobs within a slightly smaller workforce of 4,558 people.
Florida lost 1.28 million jobs from February to April 2020 and has since gained back all jobs lost, for a total rebound of 1.35 million jobs.
The number of jobs in Florida reached a new record level of 9.16 million in January 2022, up 504,000 jobs compared to a year ago. All 10 major industries experienced positive over-the-year job growth in January.
The industries gaining jobs over the year included leisure and hospitality (+179,100 jobs, +17.4 percent); professional and business services (+100,700 jobs, +7.2 percent); trade, transportation, and utilities (+94,500 jobs, +5.3 percent); financial activities (+34,500 jobs, +5.7 percent); education and health services (+27,900 jobs, +2.1 percent); other services (+16,900 jobs, +5.2 percent); construction (+15,000 jobs, +2.6 percent); manufacturing (+14,900 jobs, +3.9 percent); information (+11,000 jobs, +8.3 percent); and total government (+7,300 jobs, +0.7 percent).
The unemployment rate in Franklin County last month was higher than both Bay County, at 3.4 percent, and Gulf County, at 3.2 percent. It was slightly higher than the state average of 3.5 percent.
The numbers in the release of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Florida DEO’s unemployment estimates and revised historical data are calculated based on the annual benchmarking revisions, a standard, annual part of the estimation process.
The revised historical data shows Florida surpassed pre-pandemic total nonagricultural job growth in Oct. 2021 and that the state’s labor force exceeded the pre-pandemic level in June 2021, one month earlier than previously reported.
Compared to unemployment in Florida’s 66 other counties, Franklin in January was in the middle of the pack, tied for 30th with Broward, Dixie, Holmes, Jefferson and Pasco counties.
The counties with the highest unemployment rates were Hamilton and Putnam, at 5.1 percent, followed by Citrus, Highlands, Sumter, Osceola, Hendry and Gadsden counties, all higher than the jobless rate nationwide.
Also higher than Franklin’s jobless rate, and just below the national average, were Hernando, Polk, Taylor, Marion, Madison, St. Lucie, Flagler, Indian River, Levy, Liberty, Washington, Columbia, Hardee, Orange, Volusia, Calhoun, Charlotte, Escambia, Jackson, Lake and Suwannee counties.