NAPLES, Fla. — Governor Rick Scott announced today that the Southwest Florida area added 5,600 new private-sector jobs in the last year and unemployment rates in these areas have dropped. The Naples area’s unemployment rate is down to 3.6 percent, 0.9 percentage point less than it was a year ago. Fort Myers’ unemployment rate dropped to 3.4 percent, down 1.0 percentage point in the past year. Statewide, Florida businesses created nearly 30,000 new jobs in December bringing the total number of new private-sector jobs created in Florida to 1,497,100 since December 2010.

Governor Scott said, “It is great news that Florida businesses added nearly 30,000 new jobs across our state last month. This economic growth is also continuing in Southwest Florida with 5,600 new jobs created over the year, and we will do all we can to ensure another year of economic success in 2018.”

The industries with the highest job growth in Naples over the year were construction with 1,500 new jobs and leisure and hospitality with 1,300 new jobs. In December, the Naples area had 4,484 job openings, including 685 for high-skill, high-wage STEM occupations.

The industry with the largest job gain in Fort Myers over the year was professional and business services with 1,400 new jobs. In December, the Fort Myers area had 8,190 job openings, including 1,375 high-skill, high-wage STEM occupations.

As of December, Florida’s unemployment rate is at 3.7 percent, a drop of 7.0 percentage points since December 2010, faster than the national decline of 5.2 percentage points. In the last year, 185,000 people entered Florida’s labor force, a growth of 1.9 percent, which is nearly four times the national labor force growth rate of only 0.5 percent.

In December, 18,828 Floridians were placed in jobs by CareerSource Southwest Florida and the state’s other 23 local workforce boards.

To view the December 2017 employment data visit www.floridajobs.org/labor-market-information/labor-market-information-press-releases/monthly-press-releases.

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