Regional Statistics

Overview of the CareerSource Heartland Region

Not Seasonally Adjusted September 15, 2023

  • The unemployment rate in the CareerSource Heartland region (DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, and Okeechobee counties) was 4.3 percent in August 2023. This rate was 0.4 percentage point greater than the region’s year ago rate of 3.9 percent. The region’s August 2023 unemployment rate was 2 percentage points above the state rate of 3.1 percent. The labor force was 79,115, up 2,655 (+3.5 percent) over the year. There were 3,434 unemployed residents in the region.
  • DeSoto County had the lowest unemployment rate (3.6 percent) in the CareerSource Heartland region followed by Okeechobee County (3.7 percent), Highlands County (4.8 percent), and Hardee County (4.9 percent).
  • Employment by industry in the CareerSource Heartland region totaled 57,981 jobs in March 2023 (the latest available data). CareerSource Heartland region’s employment increased by 1,699 jobs (+3.0 percent) over the year.
  • The Manufacturing (+7.9 percent); Other Services (+7.9 percent); Construction (+7.5 percent); Financial Activities (+6.4 percent); and Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+3.8 percent) industries grew faster in the region than statewide over the year.
  • The industries gaining jobs over the year were Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+445 jobs); Construction (+273 jobs); Education and Health Services (+212 jobs); Leisure and Hospitality (+193 jobs); Government (+184 jobs); Manufacturing (+129 jobs); Financial Activities (+105 jobs); Other Services (+94 jobs); and Professional and Business Services (+79 jobs).
  • The industries losing jobs over the year were Natural Resources and Mining (-35 jobs) and Information (-22 jobs).

Sebring Metro Area:

  • In August 2023, nonagricultural employment in the Sebring MSA was 27,500, an increase of 700 jobs (+2.6 percent) over the year.
  • The Government industry was unchanged in jobs over the year.

Note: All data are subject to revision.
Source: Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Bureau of Workforce Statistics and Economic Research.

Unemployment Rates (%)
(not seasonally adjusted)
CareerSource Heartland
DeSoto County3.63.63.4
Hardee County4.94.94.4
Highlands County4.84.74.4
Okeechobee County3.73.53.2
United States3.93.83.8
Employment by Industry
Covered by Unemployment Compensation
(not seasonally adjusted)
Mar-23 Mar-22Change% Change
Total Employment9,641,0849,259,750381,3344.1
Natural Resources and Mining72,21676,686-4,470-5.8
Construction 620,571589,46031,1115.3
Trade, Transportation, and Utilities1,935,1091,896,00639,1032.1
• Wholesale Trade386,419370,77215,6474.2
• Retail Trade1,131,1581,115,94915,2091.4
• Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities417,532409,2858,2472.0
Information 159,005151,3357,6705.1
Financial Activities 1,612,9191,549,21863,7014.1
Professional and Business Services 1,443,8101,358,21485,5966.3
Education and Health Services 1,310,1501,230,78379,3676.4
Leisure and Hospitality 1,261,2761,197,99263,2845.3
Other Services 286,282272,29613,9865.1
Government 1,097,2561,070,26326,9932.5
Population20222021Change% Change
CareerSource Heartland 206,987202,9864,0012.0
DeSoto County35,31234,3409722.8
Hardee County25,64525,3073381.3
Highlands County105,618103,2952,3232.2
Okeechobee County40,41240,0443680.9
Average Annual Wage20222021Change% Change
CareerSource Heartland $44,034$41,250$2,7846.7
DeSoto County$45,426$43,092$2,3345.4
Hardee County$42,409$39,749$2,6606.7
Highlands County$43,540$40,534$3,0067.4
Okeechobee County$45,001$42,379$2,6226.2

Note: All data are subject to revision.
Source: Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Bureau of Workforce Statistics and Economic Research.

“We highly recommend using the CareerSource Heartland for any hiring events.”


Teresa Aviles
SEB Administrative Coordinator
GulfCoast Supply & Manufacturing

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Teresa Aviles
Gulf Coast

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“… I appreciate all the help from you (CareerSource Heartland) in a time when there was no hope…CareerSource Heartland drove in and fixed it like a superhero!  Thank you for all the hard work… This job fair hit big – our companies in Texas and Florida have been calls all morning asking me how did I make this happen?!  Even though I would like to take credit, it was all the work of our local career center.   I advised them to reach out to their community CareerSources, it is very much worth it. See you all very soon and thank you!”

Sincerely ,  Myesha Smith, Manager, Florida Pop, LLC, DBA Popeyes Chicken

Myesha Smith (Popeyes)
Popeyes Chicken

Anything I do say about the Career Source Heartland in Okeechobee will be very downplayed to the actual experience we encountered. Not only were they exceptional in helping us achieve our results for talented associates, but they were also well organized and on top of everything. Although I felt like I may be a burden they really went the extra mile to make me feel like part of their family and allowed me and my team to be ourselves and work closely together to make sure we were all very comfortable. Nothing I do or can say about them will ever amount to the wonderful experience I have had and will continue to have moving forward. They are the greatest resource in helping find you qualified candidates. With this being another store opening/market opening for me, this has by far been the easiest in terms of finding a staff. They help reduce the stress one may find when trying to find candidates to interview. I could keep going on how wonderful and great they were but it’s an experience and a great resource every business should try, they won’t regret it!!!!


Thank You

Andrew Stephens
TGM Okeechobee FL

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CareerSource Heartland helped me, I know that they can help you…