The unemployment rates for Okaloosa, Walton and Santa Rosa counties remain low, according to numbers posted Monday by the state Department of Economic Opportunity.
With growth in jobs tied to food services, accommodations, construction and professional services, Florida posted a 3.9 percent unemployment rate for the first month of 2018, representing 397,000 Floridians qualifying as unemployed from a workforce of 10.15 million.
Okaloosa County had the second-lowest unemployment rate at 3.5 percent, behind only St. Johns at 3.3 percent. Orange, Seminole and Wakulla counties were at 3.6 percent. Walton stood at 3.7 percent, as did Pinellas and Lafayette counties. Santa Rosa County had the highest unemployment rate in the three-county area, posting 4.1 percent — which matches the national average.
The statewide rate matches the December figure, which was initially posted at 3.7 percent but has since been revised upward. The jobless rate had reached 3.6 percent in November.
A year ago, Florida’s unemployment rate stood at 4.6 percent, with 461,000 people listed as out of work. The January job gains were balanced with a reduction in the categories of real estate, retail trade, government, and transportation, warehousing and utilities.
In a possible sign that the Florida Keys have not fully recovered from Hurricane Irma in September, Monroe County — which typically has the state’s lowest unemployment rate — had a 3.7 percent rate in January, behind five counties.
Counties with the highest unemployment rates in the state were Citrus at 6 percent, up from 5.4 percent in December, and Sumter, 5.9 percent, up from 5.3 percent at the end of 2017.