Media Contact: Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
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Ocala metro information industry continues to hold third fastest job growth rate at 20%

OCALA, Fla. (March 25, 2022) –The unemployment rate in the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion region was 3.8% in February, down half a percentage point over the month and 2.2 percentage points lower than the region’s year ago rate of 6.0%.

Across the three-county region, the labor force was 206,767, up 939 over the year for an annual growth rate of 0.5%. The number of those with jobs was 198,980, an increase of 5,416 compared to February 2021. The number of unemployed was 7,787, down 1,100 from the previous month and 4,477 fewer than one year ago.

According to today’s release of preliminary employment numbers by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Levy and Marion counties held the lowest jobless rates in the region at 3.6%, down respectively 0.3 percentage point and 0.5 percentage point over the month and 2.2 percentage points and 1.7 percentage points lower than February 2021. Citrus County followed with an unemployment rate of 4.3 percent, a drop of 0.7 percentage point over the month and a drop of 2.4 percentage points compared to the previous February.

Florida’s not seasonally adjusted jobless rate – a measure that matches the way local rates are calculated – was 3.1%, a 0.4 percentage point decrease over the month and 2.4% lower than February 2021.

Rusty Skinner, CEO of CareerSource CLM, said the report shows thatour area continues to rebound, showing positive gains in the key labor force statistics over the past year.”

Skinner added that, as with other areas throughout the state and nation, “we continue to see that business demands for talent exceed or are not aligned with the talent seeking employment.”

He recommended that those seeking employment should take advantage of CareerSource CLM’s fee-free career centers where they can receive skill assessments and gain skills that help them compete for the career that they envision.

Nonagricultural employment in the Ocala metropolitan statistical area, which covers all of Marion County, was 112,200 in February, an increase of 2,300 jobs over the year for a 2.1% annual growth rate.

Compared to all the metros across the state, the Ocala MSA continued to post the third fastest annual job growth rate in the information industry at 20.00%, growing faster in the metro area than statewide.

In the Homosassa Springs MSA, which includes all Citrus County, there were 33,800 nonfarm jobs, an increase of 700 jobs from a year ago for an annual growth rate of 2.1%.

Here is a summary of February’s employment numbers for each county:

Citrus County’s labor force shrank by 12 to 47,379, the number of employed climbed to 45,323 for an increase of 294, and the number of unemployed dropped by 306 to 2,056. Compared to February 2021, when the unemployment rate was 6.7%, there are now 1,181 more employed and 1,104 fewer unemployed for a net expansion of 77 in the labor force.

Levy County’s labor force decreased by 29 to 16,948, the number of those with jobs increased by 26 to 16,341, and the number of unemployed decreased by 55 to 607. Over the year, when the jobless rate was 5.3%, the labor force expanded by 230, there are 506 more employed and 276 fewer unemployed.

Marion County’s labor force contracted by 802 to 142,440, the number of those with jobs fell by 63 to 137,316, and the number of dropped by 739 to 5,124. Compared to the same time last year, when the jobless rate was 5.8%, the labor force grew by 632, the number of employed increased by 3,729, and the number of unemployed dropped 3,097.

In addition to the information industry which added 100 new jobs over the year, industries gaining jobs in the Ocala MSA were and trade, transportation, and utilities (+1,300 jobs for a 4.8% job growth rate); leisure and hospitality (+700 jobs for a growth rate of 5.7%); mining, logging, and construction (+200 jobs for a growth rate of 2.2%); manufacturing (+100 jobs, growing at 1.0% over the year); financial activities (+100 jobs for a 2.5% growth rate); and other services (+100 jobs, growing at 3.4%).

Education and health services industries were unchanged over the year.

Industries losing jobs compared to February 2021 were government (-200 jobs which posted a -1.3% growth rate) and professional and business services (-100 jobs which grew at -0.9%).

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

Citrus County dropped from the third to fourth highest rate. Marion County rose from 12th to 11th highest tying with Levy County, which climbed up from 15th highest, and Taylor County. Hamilton County held the highest unemployment rate at 4.5% and Monroe County posted the lowest rate at 2.0%.

Among the state’s 24 metro areas, the Homosassa Springs MSA fell from the highest to the second highest jobless rate, and the Ocala MSA continued to rank fifth highest. The Villages MSA, which includes a portion of Marion County, maintained the third highest rate.

The February and previous January 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 in each state.

The monthly jobs report for March will be released on Friday, April 15.


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 FacebookTwitterYouTube,  and LinkedIn

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