Unemployment rates rose across SWFL in August, but job market strong for ‘offseason’

Unemployment rates rose over the month in August across SWFL. That’s typical in one of the slowest months of the “offseason.” …

Someone completing an unemployment benefits form.Across Southwest Florida, unemployment rates rose in August.Traditionally, the month is one of the slowest of the year, in what’s dubbed the “offseason,” with fewer part-time residents and tourists in town. So that’s not so unusual.The Fort Myers area – or Lee County – saw its unemployment increase to 3.3% in August. In the Naples area – or Collier County – the rate rose to 3.4%, according to statistics released Friday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.In both metros, jobless rates ticked up over the month and the year. Over the year, they saw the same 0.3 percentage point increase.But the job market is still strong. Anything at or under 3 percent is considered full employment, and some economists say full employment is between 4 and 5 percent.In the five-county region, unemployment stood at 3.4% in August. That compared to 3.3% in July, and 3.1% last year.Here are some of the other highlights from the latest monthly jobs report:Lee County had the lowest unemployment rate in the regionAlthough hardest hit by Hurricane Ian last September, Lee County had the lowest unemployment in Southwest Florida, followed by Collier, in August.Here’s how the other three counties stacked up: Charlotte (3.8%), Glades (4.4%) and Hendry (6.3%). Out of all counties in the state, Hendry had the highest unemployment rate.Lee County continued to lead the way in job creation, adding 11,800 jobs over the year.In comparison, Collier County gained 400 jobs, while Charlotte County added 1,000.FGCU held a SWFL Veterans Expo and Job Fair Thursday, April 14, 2022. Job growth is only reported for larger counties, or metro areas. So, Glades and Hendry aren’t tracked in the same way.Over the year, Lee County saw the most job gains in:Professional and Business Services (+3,800)Education and Health Services (+3,100)Government (+1,700)Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+1,400)Leisure and Hospitality (+900)Construction (+600)Notably, the Fort Myers area had the fastest annual job growth rate in professional and business services, compared to all metros in the state.Story continuesNo industries lost jobs in the county over the year.Great Wolf Lodge construction in Naples, as seen in September 2023.Collier County gained jobs in some industries, lost them in othersIn Collier County, these industries saw the most job gains over the year:Despite these gains, the county lost jobs in:Professional and Business Services (-1,200)Leisure and Hospitality (-800)Information (-100)Financial Activities (-100)Over the year, Charlotte County – or the Punta Gorda metro – only lost jobs in construction (-100).It had the most job gains in these industries:Education and Health Services (+500)Government (+300)Leisure and Hospitality (+200)Professional and Business Services (+100)The Immokalee Foundation prepares the next generation of leaders through a 100 percent focus on education, career readiness, and professional development for students in Immokalee — from kindergarten to postsecondary education.Three industries drove the most job growth in Southwest FloridaIn the metro areas, the industries gaining the most jobs in Southwest Florida were Education and Health Services (+4,700), followed by Professional and Business Services (+2,700), then Government (+2,300).”It’s important to remember that Southwest Florida is still in workforce recovery mode from Ian. However, all industry sectors are working very hard to change that,” said Amy Hanna-Eckenrode, communications director for CareerSource Southwest Florida. “Progress may not be as strong in a few areas, but it’s evident in many.”CareerSource matches job seekers with employers in the five-county region.When it comes to job growth, the manufacturing industry is one sector to keep an eye on, particularly in Lee and Collier counties, Hanna-Eckenrode said.She noted that the Naples metro had the second fastest annual job growth rate in manufacturing statewide in August, with a 7.4% increase.”The leisure and hospitality industry is showing positive gains and education and health services remain strong, along with several other notable industries,” Hanna-Eckenrode said. “Businesses and educational institutions are finding and implementing new ways to address the rapidly changing workforce needs.”The rise of credentialing programs and a greater focus on workforce and job training programs are examples of the evolving market, she said.In August, the region’s labor force increased by more than 25,000. Over the year, it grew by 20,256 in Lee County, 3,190 in Collier County, and 2,815 in Charlotte County.Florida’s unemployment remained at 3.1% last month, the same as in July, but up slightly from a year ago.The state reported a seasonally adjusted rate of 2.7%. That compares to 3.8% nationally.There were 303,000 jobless Floridians, out of a labor force of more than 11 million, in August. That included roughly 23,600 residents of Southwest Florida.Statewide, the construction industry continued to experience strong growth in August, with 6,700 jobs added over the month, and new construction permitting continuing to rise.”Florida is seeing economic stability despite negative national headwinds,” said the state’s Secretary of Commerce J. Alex Kelly in a statement. “Continued job creation in service industries that generate revenue for businesses and communities and increases in housing permitting, point to Florida’s economic stability. This gives Floridians the confidence to build homes and businesses – a big step in creating generational growth for Florida families.”This article originally appeared on Naples Daily News: Jobless rates rose in August in SWFL, but region continues to add jobs

See the entire article on Arizona’s unemployment, or, read more Arizona real estate investing news. The choice is up to you.