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Retail trade and accommodation and food services were the largest industries in Southwest Florida in 2022, but were also among the lowest paying jobs in the region, according to the 11th annual Southwest Florida Regional Educational and Workforce Outcomes Report.

The study is conducted annually by Workforce Now, a research initiative that studies the regional workforce and is comprised of researchers from Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida SouthWestern State College and FutureMakers Coalition.

Of the 446,228 workers reported in the region last year, 17% were in retail trade and 14% were in accommodation and food services, while construction and health care and social assistance jobs each made up 13.8% of the workforce. Retail trade and accommodation and food services had average annual wages of $41,500 and $30,946, respectively.

The average annual wage for all industries in Southwest Florida was $56,735 in 2022, up 6.5% from 2021. Construction was by far the fastest-growing industry in 2022, with employment growing by more than 10,000 since 2018.