High Unemployment Rates in the Area

There's a slight rise in Florida’s unemployment rate.

A couple counties in our area are experiencing quite a blow.

It has been about three months since the Smithfield Packing Plant closed down in Madison.

Employment Connections says losing the county's largest employer is why Madison County has the highest unemployment rate in Florida at eight percent.

Quality Manager Cindy Bennett at Employment Connections says, “There were 486 people who received a warn notice when the plant shut down. So it's been a major impact. That was about seven percent of our work force."

It's somewhat of a different story for neighboring Taylor County, where several new businesses have opened just within the last few months.

However, many unemployed residents say finding a job is still difficult.

Jessica Williams, who is seeking a job in Taylor County says, "They'll have the job listed as if they're hiring, but when you get there they say, ‘we're not hiring’. That's very frustrating to me."

The agency for Workforce Innovation says Taylor County’s unemployment rate is 4.3 percent, which still puts the county 10th on the top ten list.

Taylor County Job Seeker Brittany Fitchett says, "It’s hard when you have to pay rent and get different stuff for your house. That’s why I really do need a job. I don't want to keep depending on other people when I can be getting stuff for myself."

The rankings of other counties in our area include: Gadsden is at 16th in the state, Suwannee is at 29th, Lafayette is at 30th, Jefferson is at 42nd and Leon is at 58th.

The latest numbers from November put Florida’s overall unemployment rate at 3.3 percent. Georgia is at 4.4 percent.