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Region’s labor force grows, jobless rate drops to 5.1%
OCALA, Fla. (Sept. 15, 2017) – The region’s labor force grew both over the month in August and over the year due to the one-two punch of more jobs and fewer people looking for work.
The jobless rate in the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion region was 5.1 percent last month, down over July by 0.3 percentage point and 1.2 percent less than the rate a year ago of 6.3 percent.
The labor force was 200,114, up 336 over the month and 2,028 more than in August 2016. There were 10,223 unemployed residents in the region, down 403 since July and 2,196 fewer than a year ago. There are 189,981 residents with jobs in the region, an increase of 739 over the month and 4,224 more than a year ago.
“The labor force can deliver both good or not-so-good news, depending on what fuels the numbers,” said Kathleen Woodring, CareerSource CLM’s executive vice president. “It can grow, and we’ve certainly seen that happen, when the number of people out of work outpaces growth in the number of employed. But today what we see is that, over the year, there is solid labor force growth in our region because more people are working and fewer are unemployed.”
According to today’s release of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s (DEO) monthly employment summary, Levy County continued to hold the region’s lowest jobless rate at 4.5 percent, followed by Marion County at 4.9 percent – both down 0.2 percentage point – and Citrus County dropped by 0.3 percentage point to 5.9 percent. Florida’s unemployment rate, not seasonally adjusted, dropped 0.2 percentage point to 4.2 percent and the national rate fell 0.1 percentage point to 4.5 percent.
Woodring said the drop in the August jobless rate is consistent with trends for the area over the past several years. Historically, regardless of the state of the economy, unemployment spikes in July and rebounds by September or October.
In August, nonfarm employment in the Ocala metropolitan area was 103,000, an increase of 2,100 (+2.1 percent) over the year and 900 more jobs than in July. The nonfarm employment in the Homosassa Springs MSA was 32,900, a decrease of 200 jobs over the year but an increase of 800 jobs over the month.
DEO’s preliminary data for the area’s three counties shows that in August, Citrus County's labor force expanded over the month by 510 to 47,423, the number of employed increased by 636 to 44,620 and the number of those without jobs fell by 126 to 2,803. That is 220 more employed and 576 fewer unemployed compared to August 2016 when the jobless rate was 7.1 percent.
Levy County's labor force grew by 134 to 16,774, the number of employed rose by 160 to 16,022 and the number of unemployed dropped by 26 to 752. That’s 305 more employed and 144 fewer unemployed than a year ago when the jobless rate was 5.4 percent.
Marion County was the only county in the region to see its labor force shrink over the month. The labor force fell by 308 to 135,917 and the number of employed decreased by 57 to 129,249 while the number of jobless dropped by 251 to 6,668. However, the labor force grew over the year by 2,223, the number of employed increased by 3,699 and the number of unemployed dropped by 1,447. The unemployment rate was 6.1 percent in August 2016.
Among the counties, Citrus County fell from third to fifth highest unemployment rate, Marion County tied with Miami-Dade County for the 13th highest rate; and Levy County tied with Madison County dropping to 27th.
The Homosassa Springs metropolitan statistical area (Citrus County) continues to hold the second highest unemployment rate among Florida’s metros, behind The Villages MSA, while the Ocala MSA continues to hold at fifth.
In the Ocala MSA, industries gaining jobs over the year, and growing faster in the metro area than statewide, were mining, logging and construction (+700 jobs for a 10 percent job growth rate, the fifth fastest in the state); “other services” (+200 jobs for a 6.5 percent increase); manufacturing (+400 jobs for a 5.1 percent job growth rate, the sixth fastest among all Florida metros); and education and health services (+600 jobs for a 3.3 percent increase).
Other industries gaining over the year were trade, transportation and utilities (+100 jobs); professional and business services (+100 jobs); and leisure and hospitality (+100 jobs).
The information industry lost 100 jobs and financial activities and government industries were unchanged over the year.
The September employment report will be released on Friday, Oct. 20.
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