FORT MYERS, Fla. - New numbers out today show more than a million Floridians remain out of work. In Southwest Florida, the unemployment rate inched up again. That has some worried about another dip in our economy.
July's report shows Lee, Charlotte, and Collier County unemployment rates were all on the rise. It's leading some to question when and if things will get better.
Lee County resident Oscar Morales is looking for work, but each day, the laid-off mechanic winds up empty-handed.
"Right now, everybody's saying that they're firing, not hiring. So it's a big mission to find a job," Morales said Friday.
He's one of more than 36,000 in Lee County, still out of work. July unemployment numbers are up to 13.2% in the county, up from 13% the month before.
"It has slowed. There are more layoffs now, more people are being affected. We are hearing about more companies again who are closing their doors," said Barbara Hartman of the Southwest Florida Career and Service Center.
Charlotte County's unemployment rate is up to 12.6%, from 12.4. But the most significant spike is in Collier County. July numbers show unemployment is at 13.1%, up from 12.2% in June.
While the statistics are grim, they do come with some good news.
"There are signs some signs that we are recovering, larger companies are the ones that are doing more hiring now," Hartman said Friday.
It's a sign of hope Morales clings to, as his job search becomes more pressing by the day.
"I have a baby on the way, what am I going to do to feed my baby? How am I going to find a job?" Morales said.
The Career and Service Center says since Southwest Florida was one of the hardest hit areas in the nation, we will likely trail behind other parts of the state as far as seeing any significant drop in unemployment rates.