Unemployment Rate Drops Across Panhandle - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Unemployment Rate Drops Across Panhandle

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Provided by: The Gulf Coast Workforce Board

PANAMA CITY, FLThe unemployment rate in the Gulf Coast Workforce region (Bay, Franklin, and Gulf counties) was 6.6 percent in March 2013. This rate was down 1.2 percentage points from February 2013. The March 2013 rate was 1.6 percentage points lower than the region's year ago rate of 8.2 percent, 0.4 percentage point below the state rate of 7.0 percent, and a percentage point lower than the national rate of 7.6 percent. Out of a labor force of 99,627, there were 6,549 unemployed Gulf Coast residents.

"Unemployment usually dips during the spring in our region because that's when our local tourism industry starts to get prepared for Spring Break and summer by hiring their seasonal workers.  This month's numbers are especially encouraging because in Bay County we have not seen unemployment rates this low since October 2008," said Kim Bodine, executive director for Gulf Coast Workforce Board. 

The March 2013 unemployment rates in the counties that comprise the Gulf Coast Workforce region were:

Unemployment Rates (%) (not seasonally adjusted)

                                            Mar-13            Feb-13             Mar-12

 Bay County                             6.6                   7.9                   8.3

 Franklin County                      5.4                   6.1                   6.9

 Gulf County                            7.1                   7.9                   8.6


Florida's unemployment rate dipped to 7.5 percent in March, the lowest level in since October 2008 and a sign that the state's battered labor market continues to heal. The state gained 141,300 jobs during the past year, state officials said Friday. Florida's month-to-month job growth has been positive for 20 of the last 21 months.