Media Contact: Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRCCommunications DirectorDirect: 352.291.9559 Mobile: 352.816.1264[email protected]

Big news: Ocala metro information industry hits 20% job growth rate, 3rd fastest in state

OCALA, Fla. (March 14, 2022) –The unemployment rate in the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion region was 4.3% in January 2022, 0.2 percentage point higher than the previous month, and 2.2 percentage points lower than the region’s year ago rate of 6.5%.

Across the three-county region, the labor force was 207,742, up 3,276 over the year for an annual growth rate of 1.6%. The number of those with jobs was 198,841, an increase of 7,610 more than January 2021. The number of unemployed was 8,901 down 1,187 from the previous January.

According to today’s release of preliminary employment numbers by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Levy County continues to hold the lowest jobless rate in the region at 3.9%, up 0.8 percentage point over the month and 1.9 percentage points lower than January 2021; Marion County followed with a rate of 4.1%, up a full percent compared to December 2021 and down 2.2 percentage points over the year; and Citrus County’s rate was 5.0%, up 1.1 percentage points over the month and down 2.2 percentage points compared to January 2021.

Florida’s not seasonally adjusted jobless rate – a measure that matches the way local rates are calculated – was 3.5%, a 0.6 percentage point increase over the month and 2.6% lower than January 2021.

The January and subsequent February jobs reports reflect annual benchmarking conducted annually by DEO and the US Department of Labor to realign employment estimates as well as revise historical data. Benchmark revisions are a standard part of the estimation process and take place at this time in each state nationwide.

Rusty Skinner, CEO of CareerSource CLM, noted that with the annual “recalibration” of data, it’s common to see shifts from numbers posted the previous December, but that “growth in labor force in all three counties and the growth on employment in all but Marion County continue to show the positive momentum of our local economy.”

The drop in the number of employed in Marion County is due to the seasonal drop of employment in the retail sector – a larger factor than in Citrus or Levy counties, Skinner said, adding that “while unemployment numbers increased in all counties, undoubtedly due to seasonal retail reductions, the number and rate of unemployed has declined from January 2021. Despite these temporary blips, our local economy is showing positive overall growth in employment.”

The nonagricultural employment in the Ocala metropolitan statistical area, which covers all of Marion County, was 111,400 in January, an increase of 2,600 jobs over the year for a 2.4% annual growth rate.

Compared to all the metros across the state, the Ocala MSA posted the third fastest annual job growth rate in information at 20.00%, growing faster in the metro area than statewide. Trade, transportation, and utilities, at 6.3 percent, also grew faster than statewide over the year.

In the Homosassa Springs MSA, which includes all Citrus County, there were 33,400 nonfarm jobs, an increase of 700 jobs over the year for an annual growth rate of 2.1%.

Here is a breakdown of January’s job numbers for each county:

Citrus County’s labor force expanded by 578 to 47,549, the number of employed inched up slightly by 48 to 45,181, and the number of unemployed increased by 530 to 2,368. Compared to January 2021, when the unemployment rate was 7.2%, the labor force has grown by 594 with 1,627 more employed and 1,033 fewer unemployed.

Levy County’s labor force grew by 181 to 16,988, the number of those with jobs increased by 33 to 16,325; and the number of jobless rose by 148 to 663. Over the year, when the jobless rate was 5.8%, those numbers represent 347 more in the labor force, an increase of 649 employed and 302 fewer jobless.

Marion County’s labor force grew by 897 to 143,205, the number of those with jobs fell by 307 to 137,335, and the number of unemployed increased by 1,204 to 5,870. Compared to the same time last year, when the jobless rate was 6.3%, the labor force expanded by 2,335, the number of employed increased by 5,334, and the number of unemployed dropped 2,999.

In addition to information, which added 100 new jobs over the year, and trade, transportation, and utilities, with 1,700 new jobs, industries gaining jobs over the year in the Ocala MSA were leisure and hospitality (+700 jobs); mining, logging, and construction (+200 jobs); financial activities (+200 jobs); and other services (+100 jobs).

Manufacturing and professional and business services industries were unchanged over the year.

Industries losing jobs compared to January 2021 were government (-300) and education and health services (-100 jobs).

Unemployment rates rose in all of Florida’s 67 counties.

Citrus County held the third highest rate, Marion was 12th highest, and Levy County tied with Flagler, Indian River, Liberty, and Washington counties with the 15th highest.

Among the state’s 24 metro areas, the Homosassa Springs MSA posted the highest jobless rate, and Ocala ranked fifth highest. The Villages MSA, which includes a portion of Marion County, held the third highest rate.

The monthly jobs report for February will be released on Friday, March 25.


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 supported by the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and other agencies as part of awards totaling $7.9 million (revised annually). 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, call 800-434-5627, ext. 7878 or e-mail [email protected]. Please make request at least three business days in advance. Stay connected with CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion on FacebookTwitterYouTubeInstagram and LinkedIn

Continue Reading