July saw a slight uptick in the unemployment rate in Charlotte County, the Department of Economic Opportunity reported.
The unemployment rate in July for the county was 10%, up from 9.1% in June. In July 2019, the unemployment rate was 3.9%.
“Charlotte County most definitely took a hit in the hospitality and tourism industry,” Wall said. “It’s still a beautiful place to visit, but the leisure and hospitality industry, boy, they are on pins and needles.”
Although the unemployment rate in Charlotte County rose, the labor force, which describes people actively searching for jobs, also rose.
“In the last recession, there was a whole category of people called discouraged workers — there were no jobs so they just stopped looking,” Wall said. “With this pandemic, I don’t believe we can put job seekers today into that category because they’ve been told to stay at home.”
The statewide unemployment rate was 11.3% in July, up 1 percentage point from the revised June 2020 rate, according to the DEO. This figure is higher than the nationwide unemployment rate, which was 10.2% in July.
In Sarasota County, the unemployment rate in July was 9.5%, up from 8.5% in June. In July of 2019, Sarasota County’s unemployment rate was 3.3%.
DeSoto County’s unemployment rate for July was 6.7%, up from 5.9% in June. In July of 2019, DeSoto was at 3.9% unemployment, according to the DEO.
The Punta Gorda metro area had the highest annual job growth compared to all the metro areas in the state in “other services” and in trade, transport and utilities in July 2020. Other services is a category to define jobs outside of main industries such as leisure, government and education. It usually consists of very small businesses and gig workers.
The Punta Gorda metro area also reported the second-fastest annual job growth rate in government compared to all other areas in the state for July 2020.
The success of the reopening of schools will likely impact unemployment rates for September because of the ancillary industries tied to education, which is a major economic driver.