What does this measure?
Unemployed individuals are those who are able, available, and actively seeking work but currently without jobs. The unemployment rate is the number of unemployed people as a percentage of the total labor force (the number of employed and unemployed individuals 16 or older and not living in prisons, mental hospitals, or nursing homes).
Why is this important?
Unemployment rates are a relatively timely indicator of current local economic conditions, particularly recent changes in the employment landscape that reflect the overall health of the economy.
How is our region doing?
The Gulf Coast region had an unemployment rate of 5.1% in 2015, close to Florida's rate and the United States', at 5.4% and 5.3% respectively. The regional rate peaked in 2010, at 11.7%, and has decreased each year since. In 2015, Manatee and Sarasota counties had the lowest unemployment rate of the region at 5.0%, while DeSoto and Charlotte had rates of 6.0% and 5.9%, respectively.
For the region and all of its counties, the unemployment rate in 2015 was higher than its low in 2006, but less than half of the recession-era peak in 2010. The region's rate in 2015 was nearly 2 percentage points higher than in 2006, but down 7 points from the high in 2010.
Notes about the data
The unemployment rate represents only those who are actively seeking employment, and does not account for underemployed workers or individuals who are discouraged and no longer looking for jobs. County-level estimates of unemployment are based on relatively small samples, and the true number may vary considerably from the estimate. The figures reported are averages of monthly rates. Data for this indicator are released annually in April.