What the data shows: Local area unemployment statistics, not seasonally adjusted, showing the percentage of people looking for work during the month who are unable to find it.
What it means: The winter tourism and retail seasons couldn't have come sooner as employers began to hire. Every area of the Gulf Coast showed month-over-month declines in the unemployment rate in October, though each area's unemployment rate was higher than the state (11.2%). The welcome news was tempered by the year-over-year increases in unemployment in every area.
Forecast: While Floridians hope they won't see last summer's high unemployment rates again, much will depend on recovery in the broader economy and government influence in the markets. Despite efforts to recruit business to Florida, local governments continue to erect barriers to new business formations in the form of high taxes on new construction and stifling land-use regulations.
Area October September
Sarasota-Bradenton 12.3% 12.5%
Cape Coral-Fort Myers 13.7% 13.9%
Naples-Marco Island 12.4% 13.1%
Punta Gorda 12.7% 12.8%
Tampa Bay 11.7% 11.8%
Source: Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation