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Lee jobless rate 11.5 percent

By Staff | Sep 24, 2011

An estimated 11.5 percent of Lee County’s workforce was unemployed in August, a year-over-year figure that decreased from 13.3 percent.

The decrease is an indication of not only job growth but sustained job growth, according to Barbara Hartman from Southwest Florida Works, who added that the county’s payroll statistics have also shown an increase.

“It’s an indication we’re gradually coming out of the downturn,” she said. “If we don’t have any further jolts to our economy we should continue to come out of it.”

Several companies are planning on hosting job fairs at Southwest Florida Works, another indication that Lee County is bouncing back, Hartman said.

Dillards, Airport Terminal Services, Hyatt Regency Coconut Point and TZ insurance are all looking for permanent, full-time employees starting next week.

“It’s exciting to see this recruiting taking place,” Hartman added.

Charlotte County posted an unemployment rate of 11.3 percent in August, up slightly from 11.1 percent in July; Collier County stayed the same between July and August, posting an unemployment rate of 11.9 percent; Glades County dipped slightly in August to 9.2 percent from 9.7 percent in July; And Hendry County boasted the highest unemployment rate in Florida at 17.9 percent, down from 19 percent in July.

Florida’s unemployment rate was 10.7 percent in August, down from 11.6 percent year over year.

Hartman said Lee’s payroll report increased .2 percent, the first time it’s done so in months.

It’s another indication of the county turning around, expanding its permanent job base year-over-year by 300.

“It’s good to see some growth and I think it will have a positive psychological impact on employers and job seekers,” she said.

Dillards will be hiring retail sales people on Wednesday, Sept 28, from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.; Airport Terminal Services will be hiring Ramp Agents on Wednesday, Oct 5, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.; Hyatt Regency Coconut Point will be hiring Line Cooks on Oct 5, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.; TZ Insurance will be hiring Licensed Health Insurance Agents on Tuesday, Oct 11, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.; Family Health Centers will be hiring Dental Assistants on Wednesday, Oct 26, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

All interviews are to be held at Southwest Florida Works. Contact Barbara Hartman for questions at 931-8200 X11170.