ERICA FISH, Public Policy Intern
Florida has been able to recoup more than half the jobs lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent Florida Department of Economic Opportunity report.
Florida’s unemployment rate was 5% as of August, compared to the national average 5.2%. That’s down nearly 3% from a year ago, when the state reported a 7.9% unemployment rate.
Florida continues to rebound from the pandemic-related economic downturn. The Department of Economic Opportunity reported recently the state has gained back more than 974,000 of the nearly 1.3 million jobs lost between February 2020 and April 2020.
Nine of the ten major industries – including hospitality, finance and the energy industry – experienced positive year-over-year growth in August, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The leisure and hospitality industry saw the largest gains statewide, adding 137,000 jobs year-over-year in August.
Southwest Florida saw unemployment rates below that of the statewide rate in August. The Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island metropolitan area saw an unemployment rate of 4.2% in August, down from 7.2% a year ago; while the Cape Coral-Fort Myers metro area saw an unemployment rate of 4.6%, down from 7.4% a year ago.
Despite the drop in the unemployment rate, employers across the region and state continue to have difficulty finding qualified workers to fill vacant positions. According to the Florida Scorecard, Florida will need 2 million net new jobs by 2030 to accommodate population growth. Collier County will need an estimated 44,032 new jobs, while Lee will need an estimated 103,446 new jobs to meet the needs of the growing population.
Latest Statistics (Florida Department of Economic Opportunity):
Florida’s Unemployment Rate 5% in August 2021
Florida’s Nonagricultural Employment was 8,777,200 jobs in August 2021
Florida’s Employment Gains and Losses 377,700 jobs since August 2020