The Florida economy was hammered during the financial crisis as tourism slowed, real estate prices plummeted and jobs disappeared, but the state has crawled back and continues to see heavy net migration into nearly every Sunshine State metro. People are chasing jobs with three Florida metros ranked among the 10 places expected to have the fastest job growth over the next three years and seven among the top 25. Naples leads the way with a projected average annual rate of 4.1%. Unemployment peaked in Naples in January 2010 at 12.2%, but was just 5.4% last month and is expected to stay low. Joining Naples among the top spots for job growth are fellow southern Florida locales Cape Coral and Port St. Lucie.
The unemployment rate hit 8.8 percent in July, up from 8.5 percent in June, according to data released Tuesday by the state Department of Labor and Industry. It is the second straight month the unemployment rate increased even though the number of Valley residents working grew.
A total of 395,300 Valley area residents had jobs in July, the highest that number has been since November 2008, just as the Great Recession was taking hold. But the workforce is growing at a faster pace.
From May to July, 6,700 new workers entered the labor pool, but fewer than half of them — 3,200 — found jobs. When the workforce grows faster than businesses add jobs, the unemployment rate goes up.