Contact: Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
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Unemployment rate unchanged, region posts strong job-growth gains
OCALA, Fla. (Nov. 16, 2018) – Just in time for Thanksgiving, today’s release of the region’s employment numbers offers plenty of economic good news to feast on.
While the October unemployment rate in the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion region was unchanged over the month at 3.7, it was down nearly a full percentage point compared to the same time last year.
The labor force was 202,179, representing a slight expansion of 316 over the month, the number of those working increased by 309 to 194,611 while the number of unemployed remained virtually unchanged at 7,568, an increase of just 7.
But it is the comparison to October 2017 that shows the strength of the region’s economic recovery, according to Kathleen Woodring, CareerSource CLM’s executive vice president.
Over the year, the region’s labor force expanded by 4,204, the number of workers increased by 5,759 and the number of jobless dropped by 1,555.
According to today’s release of the October employment summary by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Levy County continues to hold the lowest jobless rate in the region at 3.3 percent, Marion County’s rate is unchanged at 3.6 percent, and Citrus County’s rate is also unchanged from the previous month at 4.3 percent. Florida’s not seasonally adjusted jobless rate – a measure that matches the way local rates are calculated – remains at 3.0 percent, a decrease of 0.9 percentage point over the year.
Citrus County’s labor force grew by 228 to 48,591, the number of employed rose by 224 to 46,486 and the number of unemployed remained virtually unchanged, increasing by 4 to 2,105. Compared to October 2017, when the jobless rate was 5.2 percent, that’s an increase of 1,268 in the number of those with jobs and a decrease of 387 unemployed.
Levy County’s labor force expanded by 88 to 17,265, the number of those with jobs increased by 482 to 16,702, and the number of unemployed edged up by 6 to 563. That’s an over-the-year increase of 240 employed and drop of 101 unemployed when the rate was 3.9 percent.
Marion County’s labor force experienced no change over the month, remaining at 136,323; the number of those with jobs rose by 3 to 131,423 and the number of unemployed fell by 3 to 4,900. Compared to October 2017, when the jobless rate was 4.5 percent, there were 4,251 more employed and 1,067 fewer unemployed.
Nonfarm employment in the Ocala metropolitan statistical area was 105,600, an increase of 800 jobs over the month and 4,000 more than a year ago, for a 3.9 percent annual job growth gain. Nonagricultural employment in the Homosassa Springs MSA, which covers all of Citrus County, was 34,000, an increase of 300 jobs compared to September and 1,000 more over the year, for a 3 percent growth rate.
Woodring said the report highlights several positives for the region:
- The Homosassa Springs MSA had the fastest annual job growth rate compared to all metro areas in the state in state government at 6.7 percent, adding 300 new jobs.
- The Ocala MSA continued to hold the second fastest annual job growth rate compared to all metro areas in the state in education and health services, at 5.9 percent, adding 1,100 jobs.
- The Ocala MSA tied for second fastest annual job growth rate in trade, transportation and utilities at 3.9 percent. An increase of 900 new jobs.
- The Ocala MSA had the state’s third fastest annual job growth rate in leisure and hospitality at 8.1 percent, a gain of 1,000 new jobs.
All grew faster in the Ocala metro area than statewide over the year, as did manufacturing at 6% (+500 jobs) and professional and business services at 4.4 % (+400 jobs). Mining, logging and construction, at 4.3 percent (+300 jobs) also gained over the year.
Financial activities and other services each lost 100 jobs compared to October 2017, while information and government industries were unchanged.
According to the employment data for October, unemployment rates remained unchanged in 35 counties, rose in 17 and fell in 15. The county with the highest unemployment rate in the state was Hendry County at 5.4 percent. Citrus County again tied with Sumter County for the third highest rate, Marion County again tied with Miami-Dade County, but nudged up two spots to claim the 10th highest rate and Levy County tied with four other counties with the 20th highest rate.
Among the metro areas, Homosassa Springs/Citrus County MSA again tied with The Villages for the highest rate and the Ocala MSA tied with Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall for the fifth highest rate.
The region’s employment summary for November will be released on Friday, Dec. 21
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