Okaloosa’s unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the state, average wage up 11%

Okaloosa’s unemployment rate is 2.5%, which is tied for the second lowest in the state of Florida among the 67 counties.

During last night’s Fort Walton Beach City Council meeting, Nathan Sparks, Director of One Okaloosa EDC, gave an update on the state of employment and wages as it pertains to Okaloosa County.

Let’s start with employment

There are 96,674 people currently employed in Okaloosa County as of today. That is 4,023 people more than were employed at this very point in time a year ago. Sparks says that there are more people working in Okaloosa County today than there were in February 2020.

  • According to the EDC, the 2021 population in Okaloosa County was 212,404 people.

“We all remember what happened in March of 2020,” he said. “Just prior to the pandemic, there were 93,429 people employed in Okaloosa county. 

Okaloosa’s unemployment rate is 2.5%, which is tied for the second lowest in the state of Florida among the 67 counties.

  • Okaloosa is just behind St. John’s county, which is at 2.3% unemployment. 

In terms of wage information, Sparks shared some good trends there too. The average private sector wage, not including the military or other government jobs, is now at $49,622 per year or $23.86/hour.

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“That is up 11% year-over-year, which is significant,” said Sparks. “Usually if we see increases, they’re more in the 2-4% range. That is now the highest average private sector wage among all Northwest Florida counties. 

  • Bay – $44,209
  • Escambia – $48,207
  • Santa Rosa – $40,481
  • Walton – $44,709

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