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Local unemployment up, state numbers steady in latest figures

Lee Herald Favicon 16The state unemployment rate held steady in January while jobless numbers rose in Southwest Florida according to a new report out Monday.

Statewide unemployment held at a seasonally adjusted 3.9 percent January, the same as the revised rate for December, but down 0.7 percent from January 2016’s rate of 4.6 percent. Florida also clocks in below the national rate for January which was 4.1 percent. Out of a labor force of 10,152,000, there were 397,000 Floridians without jobs for the first month of 2018.

Governor Rick Scott focused on the 10,000 private sector jobs that the state added in January, which added to an annual job growth rate of 1.9 percent, outperforming the nationwide rate of 1.7 percent.

“I am proud to announce that Florida businesses kicked off 2018 by creating more than 10,000 new jobs for families across the state in January” said Scott. “Each new job means a family is able to provide for themselves and continue to succeed in our state. That is why we have worked nonstop to make Florida more business friendly by reducing burdensome regulations and cutting taxes. This includes putting a constitutional amendment on the 2018 ballot that will make it harder for politicians to raise taxes on future generations so our progress cannot be undone.“

Southwest Florida was home to two of the three metro areas that lost jobs over the year with Naples/Marco and Cape Coral/Fort Myers being joined by Sebring on the list of poor performers. Lee County’s unemployment rate jumped from a below average 3.4 in December to 3.9 in January. Collier County, which was also outperforming the state average with a 3.6 in December, rose to 3.9 in the first month of 2018.

January’s numbers, through up, were still an improvement compared to 2017, when Lee and Collier’s unemployment rates were 4.7 and 4.5 percent, respectively.

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