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Job market remains strong in Southwest Florida

Laura Layden | Naples Daily News

Southwest Florida’s job market remains healthy, despite Hurricane Ian.

The region’s unemployment rate fell to 2.7% in December.

That compared to 3.3% in November – and 2.6% a year ago.

The latest data, released Friday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, shows total employment rose by 3.7% over the year in the three largest metro areas, made up of Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties.

The job count in the three counties grew by 18,900.

These five industries added the most jobs over the year:

Education and health services (+6,200)
Construction (+3,700)
Trade, transportation and utilities (+3,000)
Government (+2,000)
Financial activities (+1,700)
The only industry losing jobs: Leisure and hospitality, or tourism (-500).

While Ian has taken a toll on tourism, the industry still employs 81,700 in the three metros – even with myriad storm-damaged coastal hotels and resorts still closed, as they repair, rebuild or rethink their future.

Tourism industry rebuilds…

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