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State recovers Irma job losses in October; unemployment 3.6 percent

Lee Herald Favicon 16Unemployment in Florida continues to fall, hitting a more than 10 year low of 3.6 percent in October, despite the impact of Hurricane Irma.

The rate is 1.3 percent lower than it was this time last year and outperformed the national rate of 4.1 percent for October. The state’s annual job growth rate of 2.6 percent also exceeded the national rate of 1.6 percent. There were 127,000 new private sector jobs created in October and postings for Florida jobs showed 240,297 openings statewide. There were 369,000 Florida residents without jobs out of a total job force of about 10.1 million. October’s job gains recovered those lost by Hurricane Irma, which caused a similar drop in September.

Governor Rick Scott praised the state’s job growth in the face of ongoing Irma recovery, saying that his proposed tax and fee reduction plan would be key to continuing economic success.

“We will continue to work to make our state more business-friendly, including fighting to cut taxes by more than $180 million during the upcoming legislation session, to help secure Florida’s future as the best place for families and job creators to succeed,” Scott said.

Cissy Proctor, Executive Director for the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, pointed to the resilience of the state’s economy, calling it the best in the nation.

“Recovering from Hurricane Irma has been our top priority,” said Proctor. “The unemployment rate has consistently declined while jobs are being added in diverse industries all across the Sunshine State, proving that we have the best economic climate in the nation.”

Southwest Florida saw a similar drop in unemployment locally with Collier County down to 3.8 percent from 4.0 in September and 5.1 percent in October 2016. Lee County went from 3.6 percent in September to 3.3 in October and is down from 4.9 percent at the same time last year.

Fort Myers saw its largest job growth over the year in trade, transportation and utilities with 800 new jobs. The largest job growth in Naples came from construction with 1,300 new jobs over the year.

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