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Local unemployment rates are high as businesses struggle to stay fully staffed


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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) - The Department of Economic Opportunity released unemployment rates for March.

While Bay and Gulf counties saw decreases from February, they are still higher than the state unemployment rate.

Gulf County's unemployment rate is the highest in Florida at 5.3 percent. Bay County is 4.3 percent. Both are higher than than state unemployment rate of 3.3 percent.


While there are so many people without a job, there are "now hiring" signs outside many stores in the area. Local busniess owners belive the reason they're struggling to stay fully staffed is because there are not enough affordable housing options available after the hurricane.

"They can't go and rent a $2200 home to put their family in and only make $15 an hour," said Selma Hill, owner of Fishale in Panama City Beach. "The math doesn't make sense."

Experts believe as rebuilding continues and more housing is created, we will start to see the unemployment rate drop.

"As we do see housing come back that workforce will bounce back. We're very confident," said Brittany Rock with CareerSource Gulf Coast.

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