Due in part to off-season employment declines, Lee County's jobless rate bumped back up in June, the most recent measurement provided by the state Agency for Workforce Innovation.
An estimated 11.6 percent of the county workforce was unemployed last month with July predicted to be no better. Charlotte County was little better at 11.2 percent.
The country may be in recovery but the economy is still struggling here in Southwest Florida.
The public sector is not exempt from this harsh reality, something local governments are addressing.
Like the national-versus-local economic picture, there's good news and bad here depending on perspective.
The good news for taxpayers is local officials are holding the line on the property tax rate with the School District of Lee County, which includes the Island School of Boca Grande, actually eyeing some slight declines. To do this, governments are becoming leaner.
The bad news for job hunters is the public sector, usually the most stable in terms of the employment picture, is contributing to the unemployment rate by also shedding jobs by the hundreds.
According to Southwest Florida Works, the greatest number of jobs lost in Lee County between May and June were 2,700 government sector jobs. It was the same story in Charlotte.
With the budget cycle in full swing more jobs will be lost either through attrition - not filling vacancies - or through position cuts.
Tight government and tight governance is not a bad thing.
But job recovery is the path to recovery and it's happening slowly here. The jobless rate has improved nearly 2 percent since the start of the year but it's still unacceptably high.
Recovery may be on its way. But it's still got a ways to go in Lee County and Charlotte County.
- Gasparilla Gazette editorial