Southwest Floridians went back to work at a fast clip last month. Collier and Lee counties both had unemployment rates in January that were among the lowest in the state, and were lower than the national average, according to a monthly report by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
Collier County’s unemployment rate sank 0.5 percent to 4.8 percent from 5.3 percent over the year, while Lee County’s fell to 4.7 percent from 5.5 percent. Statewide, the unemployment rate fell to 5.1 percent from 5.9 percent. Nationally, the unemployment rate is 5.3 percent, down from 6.1 percent a year earlier.
Monroe County in the Florida Keys had the state’s lowest unemployment rate last month at 3.3 percent, while Hendry County in inland Southwest Florida had the highest at 8.4 percent.
Florida led the nation in job growth in January, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, adding 32,200 jobs, with the biggest chunk in professional and business services.
Collier County added about 2,700 jobs over the year, while Lee County saw an increase of 10,400.
In Collier, the most new jobs were added in construction of home sites and hospitality; in Lee it was construction, professional and business services, and trade, transportation and utilities.
While it’s worrisome that many new jobs were in the cyclical and somewhat nomadic construction industry, employers are ramping up training to create a homegrown workforce of skilled carpenters, plumbers and other workers. Small businesses in other fields are getting less fussy, too.
Before, they wanted people who had specific skills who could hit the ground running. Now they’re willing to take a less qualified person and will provide on-the-job training.
Demand for workers exceeded supply at the beginning of the year. Naples had 4,425 job openings in January. Of them, 856 were in high-wage, high-skill science, technology, engineering, and math occupations, state officials said.
Many employers are now looking for permanent workers rather than seasonal ones. If you’re looking for work, there’s a job out there. A lot of these jobs have benefits.
All sectors are hiring! In Naples, Marshall’s has hired 70 workers, and Arthrex 50. Other big names like Walgreens and Pizza Hut are looking for workers, too.
Some places are raising the wages of year-round workers to keep them from taking a seasonal job in a restaurant that may pay better, if only temporarily.
For workers who are now employed part-time there’s an opportunity to go full-time or move up if a person wants it. Everyone is in hiring mode. this is also having an effect on real estate in the region as more people are buying homes, lots and land for sale in the area.
To learn more about the growth of the SWFL economy and it’s effect on real estate investments visit 9 Core Realty on the web.