Data from the U-S Census shows an unexpected positive effect to the recent decline in Southwest Florida’s workforce.

Recently-released data indicate the declines may have bought the region some wiggle room for future transportation planning. Just as significantly, decreased congestion has lessened the number of hours that area drivers wait in traffic each year, according to a study from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. The number of commuters in our area is down 7.6% between 2006 and 2011. That helped the region’s road network, particularly heavily traveled north-south roads, handle traffic more efficiently – even as commuting times remain static, averaging 22 minutes.