Dear Friend of the Lutgert College of Business,
It is my pleasure to provide you the August 2015 Southwest Florida Regional Economic Indicators Report. This report is provided by the Regional Economic Research Institute of the Lutgert College of Business at Florida Gulf Coast University.
A number of positive signs appeared in the most recent regional data. Seasonally-adjusted regional taxable sales for May 2015 were up seven percent ($129 million) over May 2014. Seasonally-adjusted tourist tax revenues for June 2015 were up 10 percent for the region encompassing Collier, Lee, and Charlotte counties. The June 2015 passenger activity for the three Southwest Florida airports was four percent higher than the June 2014 figure. Realtor® sales of existing single-family homes within the three coastal counties were up 19 percent in July 2015 compared to July 2014.
The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for the five-county region held steady at 5.2 from June to July, a full percentage point below the year earlier figure; unemployment for the state of Florida was 5.4 percent in July 2015, a decrease of six-tenths of a percent from July 2014. The national unemployment rate in July 2015 was 5.4 percent, down from 6.0 percent in July 2014. The number of long-term unemployed in the U.S. (those jobless for 27 weeks or longer) was 2.2 million in July 2015, which is a 31.1 percent decrease from July 2014 and 26.9 percent of all unemployed.
The July Bureau of Labor Statistics Establishment Survey showed that national nonfarm payroll employment increased by 215,000 for the month, a decrease of 16,000 from June and below the 12-month average job growth of 246,000. The July employment increases included 36,000 in retail trade, 28,000 in health care, 27,000 in professional and technical services, and 17,000 in financial activities. While manufacturing employment increased by 15,000, there was little change in other major industries such as construction, wholesale trade, and information. Possibly reflecting the global decline in commodity prices, mining employment continued its downward trend in July, decreasing by 5,000 jobs.
Please see the rest of the report for more detail.
Christopher Westley, Ph.D.
Director, Regional Economic Research Institute
and Professor of Economics
Lutgert College of Business
Florida Gulf Coast University
Office: (239) 590-7090
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