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Local workforce ranks among top small metro areas impacted by outbreak

A recent survey says our workforce has been one of the hardest hit of all small metro areas,...
A recent survey says our workforce has been one of the hardest hit of all small metro areas, when it comes to the pandemic. (WJHG/WECP)(WJHG)
Published: Apr. 21, 2020 at 2:24 AM CDT
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COVID-19 has forced millions across our country out of work, including many in our area.

In a recent survey,

ranked our area’s workforce as the 9th most impacted by the coronavirus pandemic among small U.S. metros.

“It kind of sucks having no money coming in for bills. We went from two incomes to one partial income,” said Bay County Resident Briana Castlemen.

Castlemen is one of many locals out of a job. She worked at a local airport and says her bills are paid for now, but she’s filing for unemployment to find some money for her and her family.

However, the process is not simple.

“It took me like 2 to 3 weeks to get through and get my pin reset and the application in. Then it’s taking two weeks to get any information back, because I didn’t put in the job search information. It’s sitting and pending now,” said Castlemen.

Maria Goodwin with CareerSource Gulf Coast says social distancing guidelines, executive orders and other measures taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus have negatively impacted our workforce. This is especially true for the tourism and leisure industry, which is a large portion of our job market.

“This is one of our peak seasons of that. You take some of our big industries that have employment tied with, you can see the impact of social distancing and how that limits to your travel or vacation time. That definitely has a big impact on jobs,” said Goodwin.

Goodwin said the impact on the tourism and leisure industry also affected other businesses like restaurants in our area as well.

Goodwin said many are applying for unemployment and looking for other resources to make ends meet during this time. For more information about resources click

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