Regional Statistics

Overview of the CareerSource Heartland Region

Not Seasonally Adjusted May 17, 2024

  •  The unemployment rate in the CareerSource Heartland region (DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands,
    and Okeechobee counties) was 4.1 percent in April 2024. This rate was 1.0 percentage point
    greater than the region’s year ago rate of 3.1 percent. The region’s April 2024 unemployment
    rate was 0.9 percentage point above the state rate of 3.2 percent. The labor force was 78,460,
    up 735 (+0.9 percent) over the year. There were 3,221 unemployed residents in the region.
  • Okeechobee County had the lowest unemployment rate (3.2 percent) in the CareerSource
    Heartland region followed by DeSoto County (3.9 percent), Hardee County (4.4 percent), and
    Highlands County (4.6 percent).
  • Employment by industry in the CareerSource Heartland region totaled 56,978 jobs in
    September 2023 (the latest available data). CareerSource Heartland region’s employment
    increased by 1,514 jobs (+2.7 percent) over the year.
  • The Other Services (+10.3 percent); Leisure and Hospitality (+8.0 percent); Financial Activities
    (+6.7 percent); Manufacturing (+6.4 percent); Professional and Business Services (+3.8
    percent); and Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+2.7 percent) industries grew faster in the
    region than statewide over the year.
  • The industries gaining jobs over the year were Leisure and Hospitality (+468 jobs); Education
    and Health Services (+383 jobs); Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+323 jobs); Professional
    and Business Services (+178 jobs); Other Services (+120 jobs); Financial Activities (+113 jobs);
    Manufacturing (+108 jobs); Construction (+97 jobs); and Government (+86 jobs)
  • The industries losing jobs over the year were Natural Resources and Mining (-429 jobs) and
    Information (-33 jobs).

Sebring Metro Area:

  • In March 2024, nonagricultural employment in the Sebring MSA was 28,600, an increase of
    100 jobs (+0.4 percent) over the year.
  • The Government (+100 jobs) industry gained 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 County3.94.22.9
Hardee County4.44.83.3
Highlands County4.64.63.3
Okeechobee County3.23.42.6
United States3.53.93.1
Employment by Industry
Covered by Unemployment Compensation
(not seasonally adjusted)
Sep-23Sep-22Change% Change
Total Employment9,680,5589,428,009252,5492.7
Natural Resources and Mining60,74664,897-4,151-6.4
Construction 631,437607,06524,3724.0
Trade, Transportation, and Utilities1,947,2201,911,98735,2331.8
• Wholesale Trade391,044379,73711,3073.0
• Retail Trade1,135,5961,118,80016,7961.5
• Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities420,580413,4507,1301.7
Information 156,691156,859-168-0.1
Financial Activities 673,490658,28115,2092.3
Professional and Business Services 1,613,0411,598,92714,1140.9
Education and Health Services 1,475,7551,405,11770,6385.0
Leisure and Hospitality 1,273,922`1,238,36035,5622.9
Other Services 286,805278,8247,9812.9
Government 1,108,5681,074,19334,3753.2
Population20232022Change% Change
CareerSource Heartland 210,780206,9933,7871.8
DeSoto County35,97935,3206591.9
Hardee County25,76025,6511090.4
Highlands County107,614105,6491,9651.9
Okeechobee County41,42740,3731,0542.6
Average Annual Wage20222021Change% Change
CareerSource Heartland $44,058$41,250$2,8076.8
DeSoto County$45,419$43,092$2,3275.4
Hardee County$42,413$39,749$2,6646.7
Highlands County$43,585$40,534$3,0517.5
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

Gult Coast Logo

Teresa Aviles
Gulf Coast

Gult Coast Logo

“… 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

Wawa Logo

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