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Jobs picture bleak for Cape Coral/Fort Myers

By Staff | Dec 16, 2010

The Brookings Institute is reporting that the Cape Coral/Fort Myers statistical area is the second worst place in the nation to find a job.
The Washington D.C. based think-tank ranked the top 100 metro areas across the United States, and Cape Coral ranked 99.
Cape Coral also ranked 100 in Gross Metropolitan Product (GMP), and 100 in Real Estate Owned properties(REOs)
Mayor John Sullivan said the city’s Economic Development Office has been working hard to bring jobs to the city, citing the forthcoming KIA Dealership, the Veterans Investment Zone, and the Creighton Development at the corner of Veterans Parkway and Santa Barbara Boulevard as positive growth on the job front.
The KIA Dealership is expected to bring 100 jobs, and the Creighton development 200 – 250, according to Sullivan.
“We’re trying to alleviate the problem by creating more jobs and bringing more business into the city,” Sullivan said. “One thing we promised was to make Cape Coral a more business-friendly town.”
Sullivan pointed out that Cape Coral’s economy was built entirely on real estate and construction, and it will take time to develop other, and less fragile, industries in the Cape.
“We need to diversify to be successful,” Sullivan said.
Cape Coral, Lakeland, Jacksonville, Miami, Palm Bay and Tampa were recognized by the Brookings Institute as the weakest performing metro areas in Florida, and in the 20 weakest performing metro areas in the nation.
Lee County’s unemployment numbers have seen some slight improvement with “season,” according to the most recent statistics.
Lee County’s unemployment rate dropped in October, down to 12.9 percent from September when 13.5 percent of the county’s population was unemployed.
The county rate is also down over last October’s figure. In October 2009, Lee County had 13.6 percent of its population out of work.
All five Southwest Florida counties saw decreases in unemployment activity from month to month:
– Charlotte County posted a 12.3 percent rate , down from 13.1 in September.
– Collier County posted a 12.2 percent rate, down from 13.3 in September.
– Desoto County posted a 12.4 percent rate, down from 13 percent in September.
– Hendry County posted the highest unemployment rate in the state, at 18.3 percent, though that figure decreased from 19.9 percent in October.
For more information on the report, visit brookings.edu