Media Contact: Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCALA, Fla. (Aug. 18, 2017) – The unemployment rate for the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion held at 5.3 percent in July, which was 1.1 percentage point lower than the region’s rate of 6.4 percent one year ago. Out of a labor force of 199,816, there were 10,557 unemployed.
Significantly, that’s 2,016 fewer unemployed and 4,555 more working than in July 2016.
According to today’s employment summary by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), Levy County continued to post the lowest jobless rate in the region at 4.7 percent, followed by Marion County at 5.1 percent – both unchanged over the month – and Citrus County increased 0.2 percentage point to 6.2 percent. Florida’s unemployment rate, not seasonally adjusted, dropped 0.1 percentage point to 4.3 percent and the national rate rose by 0.1 percentage point to 4.6 percent.
In July, nonfarm employment in the Ocala metropolitan area was 102,100, an increase of 2,100 jobs (+2.1 percent) over the year. The nonfarm employment in the Homosassa Springs MSA was 32,100, an increase of 200 jobs (+0.6 percent) compared to July 2016.
Rusty Skinner, chief executive officer for CareerSource CLM, said that the July report is “offers no great cause for alarm or excitement, when we compare it to the June report.”
“It may feel a little lukewarm, even in the heat of summer when we would typically see our highest seasonal unemployment rates,” Skinner said, adding that “what is important, and certainly on track with steady economic recovery, is how this July compared to July 2016.”
The number of unemployed throughout the region decreased by 2,106 over the year while the number of those with jobs, at 189,254, increased by 4,555. The labor force grew by 2,544 (+1.3 percent).
“That indicates we’re moving in the right direction,” he said, “and we expect to continue to do so as companies like AutoZone, which is opening a new distribution center, and Mestizo Foods, which is taking over the former Golden Flake factory, ramp up operations in our area.”
Skinner also pointed to the College of Central Florida’s new Levy County campus, which opened earlier this month, as a positive sign of growth and expansion.
DEO’s preliminary data for the area’s three counties shows that in July, Citrus County’s labor force contracted over the month by 1,056 to 46,949, the number of employed decreased by 1,068 to 44,051 and the number of those without jobs rose by 12 to 2,898. However, that is 543 more employed and 523 fewer unemployed compared to July 2016 when the jobless rate was 7.3 percent.
Levy County’s labor force shrank by 25 to 16,650, the number of employed also dropped by 25 to 15,870 and the number of unemployed remained unchanged at 780. That’s 232 more employed and 138 fewer unemployed than a year ago when the jobless rate was 5.5 percent.
Marion County’s labor force grew by 198 to 136,217, the number of employed rose by 324 to 129,338 and the number of jobless remained unchanged at 6,879. Over the year, when the unemployment rate was 6.2 percent, the labor force grew by 2,430, there are 3,785 more employed and 1,355 fewer unemployed.
Among the counties, Citrus County broke its grip on the third highest unemployment rate, dropping to a tie with Highlands County for the fourth highest; Marion County tied with Holmes County for the 13th highest rate; and Levy County tied with Charlotte, Washington and Liberty counties at 25th.
The Homosassa Springs metropolitan statistical area (Citrus County) dropped back to the second highest unemployment rate among Florida’s metros while the Ocala MSA continues to hold at fifth.
The Ocala metro posted 102,100 nonfarm jobs in July, an increase of 2,100 new jobs over the year for a growth rate of 2.1 percent.
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, tied for the third fastest growing in the state); education and health services (+600 jobs for a 3.3 percent increase); and trade, transportation and utilities (+500 jobs for a 2.2 percent increase).
Summer Spike Insight:
Tracking seasonal unemployment trends every 10 years starting in 1995, each county in the CareerSource CLM region saw slight upticks beginning in May or June, with rates typically peaking in July and returning to the pre-spike levels or lower by September or October.
One notable exception occurred last year when the May rates actually dropped in Citrus and Levy counties and remained unchanged in Marion County. Rates rose across the region by 0.6 percent in June, peaked in July and returned to the June levels or lower by September. However, the rates did not match the earlier May rates until March 2017 when they fell below pre-spike levels.
Did the 2016 Presidential Election impact the summer-spike-September-rebound pattern?
That doesn’t appear to be a factor in the previous presidential election years. Beginning with 1996, the pattern of spike and rebound held true for each county except in 2008 during the throes of the Great Recession. (Also, during the 2000 election year, while Citrus and Levy counties rebounded by September, Marion County did not drop to its pre-spike level until December).
Other industries gaining over the year were manufacturing (+200 jobs) and professional and business services (+200 jobs).
Information lost 100 jobs and financial activities, leisure and hospitality, other services, and government industries were unchanged over the year.
The July employment report will be released on Friday, Sept. 15.
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