Published: Dec 02, 2011 11:15 PM EST
Updated: Dec 02, 2011 11:43 PM EST

FORT MYERS, Fla.- A new report from the U.S. Department of Labor shows unemployment numbers are at their lowest levels in over two years, with the national unemployment rate resting at 8.6 percent.

Employment experts believe local numbers will closely mirror the national dip in unemployment.

After a grueling year-long job search, Howard Edwards finally got the call he was waiting for.. .a job offer.

"Oh my God. Are you kidding? It was good, it was really good," Edwards said Friday.

He isn't the only one getting back to work. According to a new report from the U.S. Department of Labor, employers added 120,000 jobs in November.

Here in Southwest Florida, employment opportunities are up more than 15 percent.

"Our improvements were in hospitality and leisure, some retail. It's very similar to what we have now for the national rates," Barbara Hartman of Southwest Florida Works said Friday.

The health care industry is also showing promising signs for hiring. Fort Myers-based Abby Services is actively recruiting nurses to add to their home health care staffing business.

"We're definitely coming into season. We're waiting for that uptick in hours, that uptick in business. We're anticipating that," Scott Strachan of Abby Services said Friday.

Locally, most employment opportunities are seasonal, temporary, or part time.

"Employers are starting to loosen up and starting to hire more. But they're still very cautious, it's not going to happen overnight," Hartman said.

As for Edwards, he starts his new job on Saturday and offers this advice to those still on the job hunt.

"Stay positive. Stay at it. You will get a job," Edwards smiled.

Southwest Florida Works encourages taking a seasonal or temporary job because it bridges the gap in your resume and often leads to a permanent position.

Local unemployment numbers come out later this month.