Florida, Bay County Unemployment Numbers Down - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Florida, Bay County Unemployment Numbers Down

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Bay County unemployment numbers are down a full 1% from this time last year. Employers are looking for the willing and able more and more and not all jobs coming around in Bay County are seasonal.  According to the workforce center the construction industry and those like it are starting to look for employees more and more.

"It's a sign of hope," said Kenny Strange, owner of Kenny Stranger Electric where the jobs are starting to line up again.  

"I mean we need that worse than anything," said Strange. "It has to turn, it couldn't go any further down right now.

"At some point someone has to turn lose some money and start growing again and that's what it looks like to me."

And maybe Strange is right. He is currently hiring employees for his own business and the 2013 unemployment numbers are coming in.

"State unemployment numbers have gone down and our local county, Bay county, unemployment numbers have gone down," said Maria Goodwin from the Gulf Coast Workforce Center.

Surrounding counties including Calhoun, Liberty and Washington county are fluctuating, but Walton county currently sits lowest at 5.6%.

Goodwin says they try to weed our seasonal factors by comparing the numbers year to year.

"In comparison we are doing far better, we are almost a couple percentage points lower in our unemployment rate then where we were in February of 2012," said Goodwin.

Surprisingly, she says the atmosphere has been good. Employers seeking to hire are coming in from the construction industries like Kenny Strange electric more and more.

"And those are jobs that aren't tied to a certain season," said Goodwin. "So, we feel like those are some positive signs that our economy is improving."

"We've got plans," said Strange. "We have gone down to two to three weeks of worth of work before and as an employer you start getting scared for your guys.

"But, right now we are going to be busy until the end of summer and we are very happy about that."

Goodwin says they anticipate march unemployment numbers to slide down even more.