Unemployment rate continues to drop in Southwest Florida

Reporter: Sara Girard
Published: Updated:

The Department of Economic Opportunity announced Florida’s unemployment rate for August 2020 dropped to 7.4 percent, seasonally adjusted, down 4 percentage points over the month.

Additionally, Florida’s labor force increased 1.4 percent over the month, an increase of 143,000 Floridians entering the workforce. Florida businesses gained 46,000 private-sector jobs over the month.

Adrienne Johnston is the Bureau Chief for the Workforce Statistics and Economic Research Department of Economic Opportunity.

“The biggest significance I think in that is the labor force growing at the same time. That’s really key, that’s what I look at when I’m looking at unemployment rate trends, is what is the labor force doing,” Johnston explained. “So that’s telling us that people are going, they’re finding jobs, they’re going back to work.”

She said, to be mindful of when you look at these trends. It may not be the same job, or they may be finding one job where they previously had two.

SWFL unemployment rates:
Charlotte- 6.7% in August | 10.1% in July | 9.1% in June
Collier- 7.0% in August | 10.3% in July | 9.4% in June
Lee- 7.1% in August | 10.7% in July | 9.6% in June
Hendry- 8.4% in August | 12.6% in July | 10.6% in June
Glades- 4.8% in August | 8.0% in July | 7.1% in June
​DeSoto- 4.5% in August | 6.9% in July | 5.9% in June

The August 2020 report showed encouraging indicators:

  • Florida lost 1,178,100 jobs from February to April 2020 and has since gained back over half of the jobs lost (+631,600 jobs).
  • The three industries losing the most jobs from February to April 2020, gained back 448,300 jobs from April to August 2020: leisure and hospitality (+278,500 jobs, 50.6 percent); professional and business services (+73,200 jobs, 48.5 percent); and education and health services (+96,600 jobs, 72.9 percent).

“Florida’s job creators have faced significant challenges this year, forcing many of them to make difficult strategic decisions; however, today’s employment data reflects their commitment to Florida families,” said Dane Eagle, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

Johnston adds, “Overall I think it’s a sign, since we’re seeing the job gains were happening across almost all industries, this is just an opening back up of economic activity.”

Florida Economic Indicators for August 2020 include:

  • Unemployment rate was 7.4 percent.
  • Labor force was up 143,000, or 1.4 percent, over the month.
  • Florida businesses gained 46,000 private-sector jobs over the month.
  • Florida’s private-sector job creation over-the-year rate of decline of 5.8 percent was less than the national over-the-year decline of 7.4 percent.
  • Florida private-sector jobs were down 458,000 over the year.
  • Private-sector industries gaining the most jobs over-the-month were:
    • Education and health services with 21,400 new jobs;
    • Professional and business services with 9,600 new jobs;
    • Trade, transportation and utilities with 6,600 new jobs;
    • Other services with 4,500 new jobs; and
    • Financial Activities with 3,400 new jobs.
  • Consumer Sentiment Index was 78.4 in August 2020, 2.1 points lower than the July revised figure of 80.5.


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