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Lee unemployment numbers bounce back up

By Staff | Jul 27, 2011

Lee County’s unemployment numbers jumped back up to 11.6 percent in June, a departure from the recent trend which saw declines over several months.
The county is still improved from June of 2010 when 12.7 percent of Lee was unemployed, but 10.9 percent of the county was unemployed in May of 2011, 10.8 percent in April and 11.2 percent in March.
The county has not been able to sustain the decline, in part, because the tourist and snowbird seasons have passed.
And Lee County still is facing a serious job decline in industries across the board. The construction industry continues to reel, losing another 2,000 jobs year over year.
Southwest Florida Works spokeswoman Barbara Hartman said that year-over-year there has been job growth in some industries — leisure and hospitality gained jobs between 2010 and 2011 — but sustaining those jobs for long-term employment is still proving elusive.
“Employers aren’t confident enough yet in the economy to be recruiting in larger numbers,” she said.
Government lost the largest amount of jobs between May and June, with 2,700 people out of work.
Hartman said that was due in large part to the Lee County School District, where bus drivers, food staff and other non-instructional employees found themselves without a job for the summer.
Hartman said Lee’s rate could slip further in July, as several companies, including Posen Construction, are looking to lay off employees. Hartman said Posen was looking to lay off 152 people as certain projects are wrapping up.
“It could be a rough month for July,” she said.
Like Lee, the rest of the five-county area saw bumps in their unemployment rates.
Collier went from 9.9 in May to 11.3 in June; Charlotte went from 10.4 to 11.1; Glades went from 8.4 to 9.4; Hendry jumped from 13.4 to 16.2.
Florida as a whole stayed the same between May and June, with an unemployment rate of 10.6 percent, compared to a 9.2 percent national unemployment rate.