June 2015 Southwest Florida Regional Economic Indicator Report

Dear Friend of the Lutgert College of Business,

It is my pleasure to provide you the June 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 revised first quarter real GDP estimate indicated U.S. economic output fell 0.7 percent, and although there are concerns about data collection problems resulting in weaker-than-average first quarter measures for GDP in recent years, the general consensus is that the higher-than-expected trade deficit contributed to the revision. In the third and fourth quarters of 2014, GDP increased 5.0 and 2.2 percent, respectively. In contrast, the Southwest Florida economy continued to exhibit strong growth in June compared to last year. In general, the regional economic data suggest an economy still in a strong recovery mode as we move into a slower summer season.

While the second quarter GDP figures for 2015 are expected to show improvement, the national economy continues to exhibit conflicting signals, with strong monthly jobs reports and wage pressure associated with the boom phase of the business cycle, coupled with weak manufacturing output. Meanwhile, statements emanating from the recent Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee meeting (see below) reiterated its intention to begin a slow, calculated process to raise short-term rates and inch away from the zero-bound interest rate policy it has maintained since December 2008.

Seasonally-adjusted regional taxable sales for March 2015 were up 10 percent over March 2014. Seasonally-adjusted tourist tax revenues were up nine percent for the region encompassing Collier, Lee, and Charlotte counties. April 2015 passenger activity for the three Southwest Florida airports was four percent higher than the April 2014 figure. Continuing the positive trend, Realtor® sales of existing single-family homes for the three coastal counties in May 2015 were up two percent over May 2014, along with substantial increases in median prices.

The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for the five-county region was 5.6 percent in May 2015 compared to 6.4 percent a year earlier, while Florida’s unemployment rate amounted to 5.7 percent in May 2015, down from 6.3 percent in May 2014. The national unemployment rate in May 2015 was 5.5 percent, down from 6.3 percent in May 2014. The May 2015 national, state, and regional unemployment rates were each 0.1 points higher than the previous month. The number of long-term unemployed in the U.S. (those jobless for 27 weeks or longer) was 2.5 million in May 2015, which is a 25.3 percent decrease from May 2014 and 28.6 percent of all unemployed.

The May Bureau of Labor Statistics Establishment Survey showed that national nonfarm payroll employment increased by 280,000 for the month, an increase of 59,000 from April. Employment growth nationally has averaged 251,000 per month over the last 12 months.

Our sincere thanks to the individuals and organizations who contribute to this report. These include the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council, the Economic Development Organizations of Charlotte, Collier, and Lee Counties, the Convention and Visitors Bureaus of Collier and Lee Counties, the regional airport authorities, the Realtors® of Lee and Collier County, the University of Florida Survey Research Center, and the county and city permit offices.

Chris Westley

Christopher Westley, Ph.D.
Director, Regional Economic Research Institute
and Professor of Economics
Lutgert College of Business
Florida Gulf Coast University

E-mail: cwestley
Office: (239) 590-7090

“Florida has a very broad public records law. As a result, any written communication created or received by Florida Gulf Coast University employees is subject to disclosure to the public and the media, upon request, unless otherwise exempt. Under Florida law, e-mail addresses are public records. If you do not want your email address released in response to a public records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact this office by phone or in writing.”

June 2015 Regional Economic Indicators Report Final.pdf

Call for Nominations- Dean Blietz Award

The Lee County Homeless Coalition is pleased to issue a call for nominations for the Dean Blietz Annual Memorial Award for outstanding volunteer contributions. This award will be given to an individual who has demonstrated long-term, selfless dedication to serving our community. We will present the award at the 11th Annual Dinner and Silent Auction on November 9, 2015. Please see the attached documents for more information.

Thank you,

Janet Bartos, Executive Director

Lee County Homeless Coalition

1500 Colonial Boulevard, Suite #235

Ft. Myers, FL 33907

Telephone: (239) 322-6600

Email: janet

Website: www.leehomeless.org

Dean Blietz Annual Memorial Award Letter.doc

Dean Blietz nomination form 2015.pdf

Junior League of Fort Myers event on June 6th!

On June 6th Junior League of Fort Myers will host a free, open to the public event at the STARS Complex (2980 Edison Ave, Fort Myers, FL 33916). This event will be geared towards children and their families. The Junior League of Fort Myers would like to extend to you and your nonprofit organization the opportunity to come and set up a table to discuss your mission and vision with any participants that will be on site that day. It will be a wonderful chance for exposure of your services! If you are interested in joining us, please contact Holly Rousseau at: luvcruzing1704@gmail.com.

JL Flyer kick off flyer .pdf

Goodwill Bonita Springs Job-Link Job Fair

Do you know someone who is looking for a job? This is a great opportunity for that someone to get one. Spread the word!

Would you kindly circulate this flyer. I am having a Job Fair in the United Way House/Job Link Bonita Springs on June 4, 2015.

Best regards,

Marjorie Reyes
Goodwill Industries Job Link Coordinator Bonita Springs United Way Program Coordinator
(239 )357-4024 Phone
(239) 949-0547 Fax
Bonita Springs United Way House
26820 Old 41 Road
Bonita Springs, FL, 34135
Job Link Job Fair Template 11-7-14 BLUE.docx

Operation Green Light – Saturday April 18 – Need help with the Public Awareness Campaign

First, I would like to start by thanking you in advance for your assistance in spreading the word to the community about this very important initiative – Operation Green Light! Reaching the community and getting the word out is critical to the success of the program and it is only with your help that this public outreach will be successful.

There are many people with delinquent Lee County traffic tickets, court fines and fees that have been sent to a collection agency and have had their Driver’s License suspended. As a consequence, many people are driving with suspended licenses. Operation Green Light is a ‘One-Day-Only’ chance for people to pay their fine in full without paying the 25% collection agency surcharge and restore their driving privileges. We will be open Saturday, April 18 for convenience and have partnered with the Tax Collector’s Office for reissuance of the Driver’s Licenses and Vehicle Registrations.

Also notable is that 62 Florida County Clerks will be participating in Operation Green Light. The attached flyers (English and Spanish) have detailed information.

On Monday, March 30, the Clerk’s Office will begin its awareness campaign and we are asking for your help to display the attached posters in your respective organizations, share the event through your social media include in your newsletters and forward the email and flyers to your distribution lists.

Please let me know if you need any printed materials (flyers or rack cards) and I will make arrangements to have the materials delivered to you.

This is a wonderful opportunity for our community and I hope you will help us with the public awareness campaign.

I am very grateful for our partnership and thank you for your support.


Rita Miller

Community Relations Manager



Florida has a very broad Public Records Law. Most written communications to or from State and Local Officials regarding State or Local business are public records available to the public and media upon request. Your email communications may therefore be subject to public disclosure. {Token}

Flyer Legal Color .pdf

Spanish flyer legal.pdf

HT Resource Guide

Good morning everyone, I am pleased to provide you with a Human Trafficking Resource Guide for the Southwest Florida region. The Human Trafficking Resource Center at Florida Gulf Coast University developed this guide in the hope of facilitating access and location of services for victims of Human Trafficking in our region. The guide will be updated regularly and will also be available on the center website for download. If there are any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us. Thank you.

Alex Olivares, M.S.

Clinical Mental Health Counselor


Human Trafficking Resource Center at Florida Gulf Coast University

239-745-4276, Office

239-677-6162, Cellular

SWFL HT resource guide.pdf

Volunteers needed – March 19th

Friends – 6 to 8 volunteers are needed to help with the upcoming Self-Reliance Club Golf Charity Classic. Volunteers are needed to check in golfers, sell super tickets, putting contest, etc. If you, members of your business or club, or college students want to volunteer to this fun event please let me know. The day is sure to be filled with fun and surprises.

The Self Reliance clubs teach students personal responsibility. The entrepreneurial zones reinforce hard work, academic achievement, and self reliance. Students work on meaningful tasks, have clear incentives and earn credit toward purchasing their schools supplies. The clubs are in several Lee and Collier county schools and receives no government funding.


Volunteer coordinator for event

PS: Consider a sponsoring level or put a foursome together – it’s a great way to promote your business or club.

New Golf Tournament Flyer2.pdf