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Regional Unemployment Continues Downward Trend

November 20, 2017


PANAMA CITY, FL – Unemployment in the CareerSource Gulf Coast region (Bay, Gulf and Franklin Counties) slid down again in October, coming in at 3.2%. Just a year ago, regional unemployment stood at 4.7%.
“This is the lowest unemployment rate for October that I have seen in a very long time,” said Kim Bodine, Executive Director of CareerSource Gulf Coast. “Bay County had an unemployment rate of 2.8% in October of 2006, so it’s been 11 years since we had a rate this low for October. This is great news.”
The region's October 2017 unemployment rate was 0.4 percentage point lower than the state rate of 3.6 percent. The labor force was 99,759, up 1,369 (+1.4) over the year. There were 3,223 unemployed residents in the region.
Franklin and Gulf counties were tied for the lowest unemployment rate (2.8 percent) in the CareerSource Gulf Coast region followed by Bay County (3.3 percent). In October 2017 nonagricultural employment in the Panama City MSA was 85,500, an increase of 1,900 jobs (+2.3 percent) over the year.

Unemployment Rates (%) (not seasonally adjusted)

  Oct. 2017Sept. 2017 Oct. 2016 
 Bay 3.33.3 4.8 
 Franklin 2.82.9 4.2 
 Gulf 2.83.2 4.4

The industries gaining in jobs over the year were: trade, transportation, and utilities (+800 jobs); professional and business services (+600 jobs); mining, logging, and construction (+500 jobs); government (+400 jobs); financial activities (+200 jobs); and education and health services (+100 jobs). The leisure and hospitality (?600 jobs) and manufacturing (?100 jobs) industries lost jobs over the year. The information and other services industries were unchanged over the year. 
Despite job losses reported by the state in the leisure/hospitality industry, tourism is up across the region. Bay County Tourist Development Council’s certified data, released by the Clerk of Court & Comptroller’s Office, show bed tax collections were up 13.50 percent in September 2017, versus the previous year. In all, fiscal year collections (October-September) stood at $23,905,566 at the end of September – 15.6 percent over the previous fiscal year. September tax collections were up in all three Bay County municipalities: Panama City Beach (13.9%); Panama City (14.3%) and Mexico Beach (0.29%). Gulf County is reporting fiscal year collections of $2,015,887.82 – a 12.19 percent increase over the previous year. In Franklin County, collections through August stood at $1,160,481.63, a 3.6 percent increase over the year.
As for construction, Panama City Beach has issued permits for 64 new single-family homes and 13 new commercial developments since January.
CareerSource Gulf Coast provides services to job seekers and employers in Bay, Gulf and Franklin Counties. Offices are operated in all three counties. Our professional workforce development and job placement services are all offered at no charge.


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