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Unemployment dips in Lee

By Staff | Jan 22, 2011

Lee County was still seeing a 12.5 percent unemployment rate at the end of 2010, but year-over-year the county’s unemployment picture has improved some.
In December 2009, 13.4 percent of Lee’s workforce was unemployed, so Southwest Florida Works’ Barbara Hartman said the current rate of 12.5 percent is a definite step in the right direction.
“Its an improvement,” Hartman said. “Psychologically its going to give people a boost and give the business community more confidence.”
Not only did it drop year over year, but also month to month. The unemployment rate in November 2010 was 13.4 percent, according to state documents.
Unemployment rate salso slightly dropped in Charlotte and Collier counties.
Charlotte County fell from 12.9 percent in November to 12 percent in December.
Collier County fell from 12.5 percent in November to 12 percent in December.
Hartman said the dip is likely to seasonal and holiday employment.
“It’s in line with our season, which is a very important hiring segment of our year,” she said. “There were also gains in the retail trade which goes along with our holiday season.”
Southwest Florida Works will be targeting unemployed veterans in February, hosting a job fair which Hartman said will be open to vets of all ages. The job fair will be open and free to veterans.
Hartman said the job fair is also free to any employer looking to hire veterans.
Hartman didn’t want to speculate on whether to unemployment figures will return to over 13 percent once the “season” has passed, but for now she’s happy that its been somewhat reduced.
“We can’t predict but it seems like we’ve turned the corner,” she said. “The momentum is now building. I don’t think its a fluke we’re doing slightly better.”