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Ocala MSA posts second fastest job-growth rate in manufacturing

OCALA, Florida (March 12, 2018) – The unemployment rate in the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion region was 5.2 percent in January, up 0.6 percentage points over the month and 0.9 percent lower than the same time last year. Out of an expanded labor force of 197,054, there were 10,217 unemployed, an increase of 1,235 over the month and 1,842 fewer than January 2017.

Review of the employment numbers, released for the first time in two months by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity following annual benchmarking, shows that unemployment rates rose in all of Florida’s 24 workforce development regions and 22 metropolitan statistical areas. When viewed county-by-county, the jobless rate increased in 64 counties, dipped slightly in two and remained the same in one.

“This is a trend we see every January as seasonal employees, hired for the holidays, return to the labor force,” said Rusty Skinner, chief executive officer of CareerSource CLM. “What is important is how we fared over the year.”

Whereas the bump in the number of unemployed over the month fueled January’s expanded labor force, Skinner noted that gains in the number of employed – albeit modest – account for the strengthening labor force over the year. The three-county region has 186,837 employed, or 1,896 more than January 2017.

Skinner added that spring career fairs planned in April, on-going hiring events for local businesses, and fee-free employment services for any interested candidate are some of the ways CareerSource CLM addresses shifts in the area’s jobless rate.

Skinner also said that a “significant highlight in the January report” is that the Ocala MSA posted the second fastest annual job growth rate compared to all other Florida metro areas in manufacturing at 7.7 percent.

The January unemployment rates were 6.0 percent for Citrus County, up 0.6 percentage point over the month; 4.4 percent for Levy County, an increase of 0.5 percent; and 5.0 percent for Marion County, up 0.6 percent.

Florida’s not seasonally adjusted jobless rate – a measure that matches the way local rates are calculated – was 4.1 percent, an increase of 0.4 percent. The state’s seasonally adjusted rate remained unchanged over the month at 3.9 percent.

Here’s how the preliminary numbers break down for each county in the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion region:

  • Citrus County’s labor force increased by 402 over the month to 47,378, the number of employed rose by 76 to 44,530 and the number of those without jobs increased by 326 to 2,848. The unemployment rate in January 2017 was 7.0 percent; compared to the same time last year, there are now 457 fewer jobless and 730 more employed.
  • Levy County’s labor force rose by 122 to 16,874, those with jobs increased by 21 to 16,127 and the number of unemployed rose by 101 to 747. That is 136 fewer unemployed and 162 more employed than January 2017 when the county’s unemployment rate was 5.2 percent.
  • Marion County’s labor force was 132,802, a scant increase of 13 over the month, while the number of employed fell by 795 to 126,802 and those without jobs rose by 808 to 6,622. That reflects a drop of 1,249 jobless over the year and an increase of 1,004 employed compared to January 2017 when the unemployment rate was 5.9 percent.

Citrus County posted the highest unemployment rate among Florida’s counties, Marion County ranked 11th and Levy County was 24th.

Among Florida’s metro areas, the Homosassa Springs MSA, which includes all of Citrus County, had the highest rate followed by The Villages at 5.9 percent. The Ocala/Marion County MSA held the fourth highest unemployment rate.

In January, nonagricultural employment in the Ocala MSA was 101,900, a gain of 700 jobs over the year. Manufacturing, as previously mentioned at 7.7 percent (+600 jobs); education and health services at 2.7 percent (+500); and government at 0.7 percent (+100 jobs), grew as fast or faster in the metro area than statewide over the year.

Professional and business services added 100 new jobs over the year.

Industries that lost jobs over the year were trade, transportation and utilities (-200); leisure and hospitality (-200); mining, logging and construction (-100); and financial activities (-100).

Information and “other services” were unchanged over the year.

In January 2018, nonfarm payroll employment in the Homosassa Springs MSA was 32,800, an increase of 100 jobs (+0.3 percent) compared to January 2017.

February’s unemployment numbers will be released on Friday, March 23.


CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion is a member of CareerSource Florida and a proud partner of the American Job Center network. CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion is an equal opportunity employer/program. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities and in Spanish. All voice telephone numbers listed above may be reached by persons using TTY/TDD equipment via the Florida Relay Service at 711. If you need accommodations, please call 800-434-5627, ext. 7878 or e-mail [email protected]. Please make request at least three business days in advance. Like us on Facebook follow us on TwitterYouTubeGoogle+ and LinkedIn.

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