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SUN FILE PHOTO BY JERRY BEARD

Construction activity last week building new stores at Kings Crossing Shopping Center in Port Charlotte. The regional unemployment rate for June is down from that time last year, but up a bit from May.

Florida saw a .2% decrease in its unemployment rate in June compared to the same time last year.

And much of the same is true for the region, which saw a .3% dip in that time across Charlotte, DeSoto and Sarasota counties.

It’s not the lowest unemployment rate this year, though. And employment is expected to ramp up even more once the busy season returns.

What are our June unemployment rates?

Charlotte County: 4% (down 0.3% since last year)

DeSoto County: 3.9% (down 0.3% since last year)

Sarasota County: 3.7% (down 0.3% since last year)

Unemployment was at its lowest in April, according to Hans Dettling, the employment security representative for CareerSource Southwest Florida, and has been creeping upward since. He calls this the “summer hole.”

“The snowbirds are gone and we entered into the rainy season,” Dettling explained. “Our retail/hospitality industry is most likely to be affected by the slow season. Workers are not getting as many hours as in our high season in wintertime. Traditionally, they get reduced hours or no hours during summer.”

Employment should pick up, though, once the season starts.

The region’s June unemployment numbers were also slightly higher than May. However, statewide June and May saw no change.

Employment data was collected from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the Bureau of Workforce Statistics and Economic Research, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Charlotte County

There were 1,100 jobs added in the Punta Gorda metropolitan statistical area (MSA), which includes all of Charlotte County. A majority of these, 500, are mining, logging and construction jobs.

The fastest-growing industry in the area is manufacturing, which grew by 12.5%, or 100 jobs, since last year.

The area also has the fastest growing manufacturing industry in the state, numbers show.

Dave Gammon, the Economic Development director for Charlotte County, thinks the decrease in unemployment is a natural response to all the activities happening in the area.

“Take the construction industry alone with all the new homes, commercial and of course Sunseeker (resort under construction by Allegiant Travel Company) and you can see why employment is way up,” Gammon said.

Both Gammon and Dettling agree, though, that there are numerous job openings and not enough qualified candidates.

“We have lots of job orders and not enough qualified candidates with the skills and abilities needed to fill the positions,” Dettling said.

“Most of our local employers are faced with a limited talent pool given most of our workers already have jobs,” Gammon added. “Our office is working on further developing the County’s available workforce to meet the ever-growing demands of the increase in our base — a good problem to have. “

North Port- Sarasota-Bradenton

The area added 3,700 jobs since last year, most of these, 2,300, being jobs in trade, transportation and utilities. The North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton area also has the second fastest-growing trade, transportation, and utilities industry in the state.

“Stable employment keeps the economy going and contributes to better employment conditions,” Dettling said. “Businesses are encouraged to expand and build onto the momentum.”

However, the professional and business services industry suffered, losing 1,600, or 3.3%, of its positions since last year.

DeSoto-Hardee-Highlands-Okeechobee

The Heartland region as a whole had a 0.2% decrease in unemployment since June 2018.

DeSoto and Okeechobee counties, had the lowest unemployment rates in this region, though, at 3.9% for June.

The region as a whole, however, decreased the number of jobs it had by 1,591.

Seven of 11 industries grew with the region’s information industry seeing the most growth at 18.9%.

Email: Liz.Hardaway@yoursun.com

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Unemployment Rate

June 2019 May 2019 June 2018
Charlotte County 4.0% 3.5% 4.3%
DeSoto County 3.9% 3.1% 4.2%
Sarasota County 3.4% 3.0% 3.7%
Florida (Seasonally Adjusted) 3.4% 3.4% 3.6%
United States (Seasonally Adjusted) 3.7% 3.6% 4.0%

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