The unemployment rate dropped again in Charlotte and Sarasota counties, and also dropped statewide in the month of October after a slight uptick in September.
Charlotte County’s jobless rate in October was 5.2%, a slight decrease from September’s 5.5%, according to data released by the Department of Economic Opportunity on Friday morning.
Sarasota County also saw a slight downtick in its unemployment rate at 4.9% in October, down from 5.2% in September, the department reports.
Statewide, unemployment dropped, after a slight increase in September. Florida’s jobless rate in October was 6.5%. In October of 2019, Florida’s unemployment rate was 2.9%.
“Even now with COVID-19, it appears that the economy is strong,” said Jim Wall, spokesman for CareerSource Southwest Florida. “We don’t know what will happen if there’s another shutdown, but I think we’re going to see unemployment numbers continue to go down and we’re going to see our winter visitors still come to Southwest Florida, where you can be outside.”
Another sign of a good local economy, Wall said, is the new flights from the Punta Gorda Airport to Chicago and Houston, which began on Friday.
The Punta Gorda metro area was one of only three in the state to report an over-the-year job gain in October. The metro area gained more than 700 jobs since last year. The only other two metros to gain jobs were Sebring (+300 jobs) and The Villages (+200 jobs).
“Those two projects alone probably brought in several hundred jobs in the construction industry,” Gammon said.
The Punta Gorda metro area also had the second-fastest annual job growth rate compared to all the metro areas in the state in mining, logging and construction (+9.8%) in October, and had the second-highest annual job growth in education and health services.
Local unemployment rates
October 2019; September 2020; October 2020
Charlotte: 3.3%; 5.5%; 5.2%
Sarasota: 2.8%; 5.2%; 4.9%
DeSoto: 3.3%; 3.7%; 4%
Florida: 2.9; 7.2%; 6.5%
U.S.: 3.6%; 7.9%; 6.9%
Florida and U.S. data are seasonally adjusted.