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Southwest Florida Unemployment Rate Holds Steady

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The unemployment rate is staying the same for another month. State officials on Friday announced the state's jobless rate was 4.7 percent in September. That's the same rate as it was in August, although it's lower than the national jobless rate of 5 percent. The unemployment rate has hovered around the same place for much of this year. Florida added 23,000 jobs in September. That was the third highest total in the nation behind Texas and California.

The unemployment rate in the most populated Southwest Florida counties hung around 5 percent in September as employers transitioned from summer to fall. Lee County registered the lowest rate at 4.7 percent, the same as August but down from 5 percent a year ago. Collier County’s rate was higher at 5.4 percent, up from 5.3 percent last month but down from 5.6 percent a year ago. Charlotte County came in at 5.6 percent, up from 5.3 percent in August but down from 5.9 percent a year ago. Hendry County had the highest unemployment rate (11.3 percent) in Florida, with Glades County ranking third highest at 7 percent.

The latest figures were released Friday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

“It’s kind of a transition month,” said Christopher Westley, director of the Regional Economic Research Institute at FGCU and a professor of economics. “Some summer seasonal jobs transition to fall and winter seasonal jobs, so there’s a transition and people become unemployed.”

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