FORT MYERS — Taxable sales and tourism are two bright spots in the regional economy that includes Charlotte, Lee and Collier counties, according to the most recent monthly economic analysis by Florida Gulf Coast University's Regional Economic Research Institute.
“Southwest Florida tourism tax revenues for June were encouraging, reflecting growth over the same month last year,” says Gary Jackson, director of the institute, in a note accompanying the August report. The analysis covers Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties.
The analysis highlighted the fact that tourist-tax revenues rose 22% in Charlotte County in June compared with the same month one year ago. Lee County posted an 8% increase and Collier posted a 7% increase in tourist taxes in the same period. That's despite the fact that airlines have cut back service to Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers, resulting in declines in passenger traffic.
More broadly, regional taxable sales rose 6% in May compared with the same month a year ago, the most recent data available. However, seasonally adjusted unemployment has edged up in July in most areas.
“The economic indicators have been mixed but indicate continued growth for the regional economy,” Jackson says.
The monthly regional economic indicator reports are posted on the institute's website.