SWFL unemployment rate lower than state’s; many industries growing

Published: January 4, 2022 7:43 AM EST

Fewer people are filing for unemployment across the US. New numbers from the Labor Department show 198,000 people filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week.

Unemployment numbers in Lee, Charlotte and Collier counties also saw a decline from a year ago, and the latest data from experts at Florida Gulf Coast University show that the unemployment rate in those counties is lower than the state’s, which is 4.5%.

Based on recent data for November 2021, one industry in Lee County saw employment growth that Chris Wesley, dean of the Lutgert College of Business and professor of economics at FGCU, says he doesn’t think he’s ever seen: The government sector is now the second-largest employer for the county.

Wesley says there are a handful of industries seeing the most growth across the board.

“The biggest industries right now in the region, in terms of employment growth, are leisure and hospitality, retail, construction, and professional and business services throughout Southwest Florida,” Wesley said.

Collier County has the lowest unemployment rate out of the 3 counties, at 2.9%.