Franklin County’s unemployment rate dropped sharply in March, declining by seven-tenths of 1 percentage point to 2.6 percent, even as the labor force grew.
According to data released Friday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the labor force grew by 144 workers, to a total of 4,772. The county’s ranks of the unemployed dropped to 123, as 28 people left the jobless rolls.
One year ago, in March 2021, Franklin County had a higher jobless rate of 4.2 percent as 198 people without jobs within a slightly smaller workforce of 4,691 people.
The unemployment rate in Franklin County last month was higher than both Bay County, at 2.4 percent, and Gulf County, at 2.3 percent.
Compared to unemployment in Florida’s 66 other counties, Franklin was right in the middle, slightly below the statewide rate of 2.7 percent.
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 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).