FloridaCommerce Press Releases

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Announces Southwest Florida December 2022 Employment Data

Jan 20, 2023

Governor DeSantis Announces Southwest Florida’s Economic Recovery is Strong as Fort Myers Area Reports Jobs at All Time High

Fort Myers area adds 2,600 jobs since Hurricane Ian’s Landfall

Naples, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced that the Southwest Florida area’s economic recovery is strong as the Fort Myers area reports jobs at an all-time high. Employers in the Fort Myers area are reporting a total of 300,100 jobs, more than at any point prior to Hurricane Ian’s landfall. The Fort Myers area has also added 2,600 jobs since Hurricane Ian’s landfall in October 2022.

The Fort Myers area, one of the most impacted areas by Hurricane Ian, saw an increase in its unemployment rate, up 0.2 percentage point over the year to 2.9 percent in December 2022. The Naples area, also heavily impacted by Hurricane Ian, saw a 0.1 percentage point decrease in its unemployment rate over the year to 2.2 percent in December 2022.

The Fort Myers area private sector employment grew by 11,400 jobs over the year, an increase of 4.6 percent. The Fort Myers area also had the fastest over-the-year job growth rate among all metro areas in two major industries in December 2022, education and health services (+12.5 percent) and financial activities (+9.6 percent). The Naples area private sector employment increased by 3,500 jobs over the year, an increase of 2.4 percent.

Southwest Florida’s area labor force increased by 19,552 over the year in December 2022. The Fort Myers area labor force grew by 15,810 over the year in December 2022, a 4.4 percent increase, and the Naples area labor force increased by 3,742 over the year, a 2.0 percent increase.  

The Fort Myers area industries gaining the most jobs over the year were education and health services (+4,200 jobs); and construction increasing by 2,300 jobs. The Naples area industries gaining the most jobs over the year were construction, increasing by 1,600 jobs; and education and health services, increasing by 1,400 jobs.

December 2022 marks the second month in 2022 that Florida reached a 2.5 percent unemployment rate, a historic low last reached in 2006.  Florida’s private sector employment increased by 425,800 jobs over the year in December 2022 (+5.3 percent), two full percentage points faster than the national over-the-year growth rate of 3.3 percent. In December 2022, Florida’s private sector employment increased by 18,000 over the month (+0.2 percentage point). Florida’s labor force grew by 3.5 percent over the year in December 2022, faster than the national growth rate of 1.6 percent over the same time period.

Florida’s population increased to 22.2 million in 2022, maintaining the state’s status as the third largest in the nation behind California and Texas. Idaho had the second highest growth rate among all states at +1.8 percent followed by South Carolina (+1.7%) and Texas (+1.6%). New York, California, and Illinois are among states that experienced negative growth in 2022, with growth rates of -0.9%, -0.3%, and -0.8%, respectively. 

Data in the month of December continues to indicate there are many job opportunities available for Floridians throughout the state, with more than 442,000 jobs posted online. Floridians in search of work and new job opportunities are encouraged to turn to the CareerSource Florida network for help. Floridians can find guidance on how to register with Employ Florida and search listings of available local job openings. Career seekers also can improve their employability by perfecting resume writing and interviewing skills, establishing career goals, and pursuing customized career training. These services are provided at no cost to job seekers.

Various resources available to help Floridians and businesses include:

CareerSource & DEO Disaster Jobs Portal The CareerSource Florida network has mobilized and deployed units and staff from across the state to storm-affected areas to assist Floridians with employment and business services. These mobile units, directed by local workforce development board and DEO teams, have computers, internet service, and skilled staff to help people apply for disaster recovery programs and new employment opportunities. DEO is also working with the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) Network, who has deployed mobile units also and is working with the U.S. Small Business Administration. To look for employment opportunities to help rebuild Florida’s communities impacted by Hurricane Ian or to post disaster-related jobs where a labor force is needed, visit Florida’s Disaster Recovery Jobs Portal at DisasterRecovery.EmployFlorida.com.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) Disaster Unemployment Assistance is available for Floridians who live or work in disaster declared counties and became unemployed as a result of the storm. Floridians who believe they may be eligible can file a claim today at www.FloridaJobs.org/DUA or call the DUA hotline at 800-385-3920.

Floridians have until January 30 to apply for DUA.

Dislocated Worker Grant – Through the Dislocated Worker Grant Program, DEO partners with local workforce development boards in the affected area to pay salaries for temporary disaster relief employment, which includes restoration and repair work, debris removal, and humanitarian assistance.

Community Action Network ResourcesThrough a close partnership with DEO, the Community Action Agency network helps administer the state’s Community Services Block Grant and Low-Income Home Energy Assistance programs.


  • Through the Community Services Block Grant Program, Community Action Agencies may provide emergency health, food, housing, day care, transportation assistance; housing counseling; financial management assistance; nutrition programs including federal surplus food distribution, food banks, job counseling, placement and training services and homeless prevention programs.
  • DEO has released emergency set-aside funding through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program to help families re-establish electric service, provide utility deposits at new places of residence for those permanently displaced, and repair or replace air-conditioning equipment for households with health-related conditions exacerbated by flooding, wind, and other storm damage.

Visit www.FloridaJobs.org/FindYourLocalCAA to apply for assistance through the Community Action Agency that serves the county where you live.

To view the statewide December 2022 employment data, visit www.floridajobs.org/labor-market-information/labor-market-information-press-releases/monthly-press-releases. Visit Florida Insight for more information on labor market and economic data.       


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