Florida's unemployment rates drops, local employers struggle to fill positions

The state's unemployment rate has dropped but many businesses in bay county still have jobs that need to be filled. (WJHG/WECP)
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The state's unemployment rate has dropped, but while unemployment remains low, many local businesses continue to struggle to fill positions.

"The situation is a little difficult for the employers because some are not able to open up for their normal operating hours because they don't have enough of staff on hand," said Brittany Rock with CareerSource Gulf Coast. "There have been some businesses in jeopardy of not doing their grand openings."

Rock says Bay County lost around 2,000 workers in the past year, and now businesses have to work harder to find employees,

"As they're having to compete for that same workforce, that's where we see the increased wages and the benefits packages getting more competitive," said Rock.

Rock believes our depleted workforce is linked to one problem lack of housing.

"We have job fairs here almost every day where employers are actively recruiting. In our opinion, it comes back to the housing," she said. "We believe once we see the housing recover our area will see those numbers come back for employment."

Rock said several plans to restore housing in the area are years from being completed.

So, she said, many business owners have been forced to asked current employees to take on additional shifts until they find more help.

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