July 27, 2006
Lee County, Florida, which includes Fort Myers, had the biggest over-the-year percentage increase in employment among the largest counties in the U.S in December 2005.
Employment increased by 9.2 percent in Lee County from December 2004 to December 2005. Kern, California, just north of Los Angeles County, and Pasco, Florida, which is north of Tampa, had the next largest increases. The nation as a whole experienced a job growth rate of 1.7 percent.
The largest percentage declines in employment occurred in the greater New Orleans area and along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The largest percentage decline was in Orleans Parish, Louisiana (-39.3 percent), followed by the county of Harrison, Mississippi, which includes the cities of Biloxi and Gulfport, and Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. These employment losses reflected the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina.
The BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program produced these data, which are preliminary and subject to revision. Employment data presented here are for all workers covered by State and Federal unemployment insurance programs. The largest counties are those with employment levels of 75,000 or more—there are 322 such counties in the U.S. Find out more in "County Employment and Wages: Fourth Quarter 2005" (PDF) (TXT), news release 06-1275.