State unemployment rate falls below national average (document)

Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 05:56 PM.

While the state unemployment rate dropped, the local unemployment rates for Walton, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties all inched up slightly higher.

“In view of all we’re facing, the numbers today are really not bad news,” Goetsch said. “It could be a lot worse than this. I don’t want to call it good news, but it’s not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.”

Walton County’s unemployment rate increased from 5.5 percent in December to 5.6 percent in January. It had the second-lowest unemployment rate in the state behind Monroe County at 4.6 percent.

Okaloosa County tied with Alachua County at 6 percent for the third-lowest unemployment rate in the state. Okaloosa County’s December unemployment rate was 5.8 percent.

Santa Rosa County’s unemployment rate of 7.3 percent in January was up slightly from its December rate of 7.1 percent. It tied with Nassau and Baker counties for the 18th-lowest unemployment rate in the state.

Goetsch said sequestration will continue to have an impact on the local and state unemployment numbers going forward.

“Even with sequestration, we’ll still have the best rates in the state,” Goetsch said. “But here will be the difference, because so much of the impact of sequestration will not be unemployment but furloughs. Furlough will trickle down. It will cause some unemployment because if people from the base start spending less money because they have less money, it will show up in the service sector, the restaurants, the grocery stores, the convenience stores.”

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