Collier No. 1, Lee No. 2 in terms of job growth in 2012

Collier County Commission Chairwoman Georgia Hiller receives the Governor’s Business Ambassador Award on behalf of Collier County.

Collier County Commission Chairwoman Georgia Hiller receives the Governor’s Business Ambassador Award on behalf of Collier County.

Lee County Commission Chairman Cecil Pendergrass receives the Governor’s Business Ambassador Award on behalf of Lee County.

Lee County Commission Chairman Cecil Pendergrass receives the Governor’s Business Ambassador Award on behalf of Lee County.

Collier County saw the fastest annual job growth rate in the state in 2012, according to Gov. Rick Scott’s office.

Lee and Palm Beach counties tied for second.

Scott recognized leaders from all three counties Wednesday during the Florida Association of Counties Legislative Meeting in Tallahassee.

“I am happy that Gov. Scott recognizes the work that is being done to help create jobs in Collier County,” State Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, said in a prepared statement. “Our economy is headed in the right direction and we know how important it is to the families who call Collier County home.”

Collier’s annual job growth rate of 3.4 percent was tops in the state, according to Scott’s office. It was a result of growth in the professional and business services industry (+12.4 percent); construction (+4.4 percent); leisure and hospitality (+4.4 percent) and manufacturing (+4 percent).

Lee and Palm Beach counties each saw an annual job growth rate of 2.5 percent, according to Scott’s office.

Lee County’s job growth was driven by the leisure and hospitality industry (+3.9 percent); trade, transportation and utilities (+3.7 percent); information (+3.4 percent) and construction (+3.1 percent).

“Lee County will continue its efforts toward job creation, such as our adjustment of impact fees to encourage business growth,” Lee Commission Chair Cecil Pendergrass said in a statement.

Pendergrass and Collier Commission Chair Georgia Hiller were in Tallahassee to receive the Governor’s Business Ambassador Award.

Scott is focusing on Florida’s economic recovery as he begins ramping up for his 2014 reelection campaign. When he took office in 2011, the state’s unemployment rate was more than 11 percent. It rate dropped to 7.7 percent in February.

“Florida’s economy continues to grow because of the decisions we have made over the last two years,” Scott said in a prepared statement. “It’s working. ... Our state is headed in the right direction, and I congratulate Collier, Lee and Palm Beach counties for helping lead the way.”

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