We have a goal to meet with 1/3rd of our members annually, or roughly 450 Naples Chamber members. From those conversations, we learn their views on the economy, what keeps them up at night and what opportunities they’re pursuing. We help them make one-to-one connections, answer questions, and we gain a pretty good read on Collier County’s economy.
Lately, there have been two consistent themes, that actually reinforce each other: the constant need for talented employees and the feeling that summertime in Collier County is no longer an economic lull. Statements like, “We haven’t really seen much of a drop-off in our business,” or “We’re still busy, maybe not as busy as during the season, but we’re still busy,” are frequently heard. And from a population standpoint, it makes total sense. Naples is no longer a sleepy fishing village for part-time residents. Collier County is a “community” of 365,000 permanent residents, who need all the same daily services and make the same purchases as any other city of 365,000 – spring-summer-winter-fall.
Which also speaks to our members’ first concern: the challenge to find employees to fill open positions. Collier County’s unemployment rate is currently at 4.1%, and staff that previously weren’t needed in the “off-season” are now just as needed as “in-season.” Talent is the lifeblood that fuels business growth, hence why the Chamber is working to address workforce housing and workforce development – to help our businesses develop, attract and retain talent.
The good news, it’s less of a seasonal economic drop-off. The good/bad news, it can be a tight market for talent. This can be a positive or negative aspect for a business depending on what side of the table they’re on.
So, what are you seeing? Was summertime less of a drop off than in previous years? Are you having a tough time finding employees? Have you raised wages to attract top talent? Tweet at us @NaplesChamber, #napleschamber, and let us know your thoughts!
Welcome to the new economy!