Business executives optimistic regional economy will keep improving

Seasonal resident Dave Harmon relaxes on the beach at Delnor Wiggins State Park Monday while trying his luck at surf fishing near the pass.  It's the second year Harmon and his wife  have come down to Florida from their Lima, Ohio home. Michel Fortier/Staff

Photo by MICHEL FORTIER // Buy this photo

Seasonal resident Dave Harmon relaxes on the beach at Delnor Wiggins State Park Monday while trying his luck at surf fishing near the pass. It's the second year Harmon and his wife have come down to Florida from their Lima, Ohio home. Michel Fortier/Staff

The Southwest Florida economy is showing signs of a recovery, and business executives appear to agree.

Sixty-one percent of Lee County business executives believe the economy will improve over the next year, according to a July 2012 Horizon Council- FGCU Executive Business Climate Survey. And 39 percent said they expect to hire more workers in the next year, it shows.

The survey was included in the August 2012 Southwest Florida Regional Economic Indicator Report released Wednesday by the Regional Economic Research Institute at Florida Gulf Coast University.

The economic indicator report featured information that varied from airport traffic to workforce trends.

Seasonally adjusted unemployment rates in both counties have remained steady, the report showed. Lee County's jobless rate increased to 9.4 percent in July from 9.2 percent in June. Collier County's unemployment rate jumped to 8.7 percent in July, up from 8.6 percent in June.

Collier's jobless rate was higher in July 2011, at 10.5 percent.

The national unemployment rate for 2012 is expected to be lower than last year. The U.S. projected jobless rate range is expected to be 7 to 8.1 percent in 2013 and 6.3 to 7.7 percent in 2014, according to the report.

Other highlights:

Collier and Lee reported a 6 percent increase in taxable sales in May compared to May 2011, which reflects what merchants collected. Collier reported taxable sales of $451.5 million in May and Lee's taxable sales were $779.6 million.

Both counties reported tourism tax revenue increases in June. Lee's rose to nearly $1.8 million, an 8 percent increase from the previous June and 19 percent better than May 2012.

Collier's tourism tax revenue jumped to $730,332 in June, a 7 percent increase from June 2011.

To read the report, go to naplesnews.com.

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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