Typical jobless rate “summer spike” hits region, all of Florida
Despite uptick, June report offers bright spots, cause for optimism
OCALA, Fla. (July 22, 2016) – Mosquitos, humidity and a bump in the unemployment rate – all typical for summer in Florida.
As expected, the unemployment rate in the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion region rose in June to 6.0 percent, up 0.8 percentage point over the month. Out of an expanded labor force of 195,882 there were 11,756 unemployed, an increase of 1,266 since May.
Rusty Skinner, CareerSource CEO, said that the strength of the labor force, which grew by 1,535 across all three counties, is “encouraging because more people are entering the labor force, showing job seeker optimism.”
More important than the seasonal summer spike in the jobless rate, Skinner said, is the over-the-year picture. Compared to June 2015, when the unemployment rate was 6.8 percent, there are 1,516 fewer jobless and 1,422 more employed throughout the three counties.
Skinner added that significant positives in the report, released today by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, include strong nonfarm job growth for the Ocala metropolitan statistical area, fueled by some of the highest job growth rates in the state in manufacturing and financial activities.
“One thing today’s report doesn’t capture is the strong hiring that has taken place in recent weeks,” Skinner said. “More than 2,000 job seekers attended hiring events for FedEx Ground, which is opening next month, Episcopal Children’s Services and Marion County Fire Rescue. Those three alone were filling more than 700 positions. And that doesn’t include nearly a dozen hiring events for other employers.”
According to the DEO data, Levy County continued to have the lowest unemployment rate (5.2 percent), followed by Marion County (5.8 percent) and Citrus County (6.8 percent). Florida’s not seasonally adjusted rate, which mirrors the local rates, was 4.9 percent, up 0.5 percentage point over the month, while the not seasonally adjusted national rate was 5.1 percent, up 0.6 percent.
All three counties saw expansion of the labor force and increases in jobless, while Citrus and Marion counties experienced slight dips in the number of employed.
Skinner noted that the “summer spike” is caused by a variety of factors, including release of school support personnel for the summer, coupled with college students returning to the area looking for work until they head back to school. He added that rates typically rebound by September or October, dropping below pre-spike levels.
Citrus County’s labor force grew by 338 to 47,562, the number of employed fell by seven to 44,323 and the number of those without jobs rose by 345 to 3,239. Compared to June 2015, when the jobless rate was 7.6 percent, there are 426 fewer unemployed.
Levy County’s labor force expanded by 36 to 16,465 and the number of employed increased by 28 to 15,612 while the number of jobless rose by 108 to 853. Over the year, when the unemployment rate was 6.0 percent, the number of unemployed has fallen by 132.
Marion County’s labor force rose by 722 to 131,855, the number of employed dropped by 91 to 124,191 and the number of jobless increased by 813 to 7,664. That’s 958 fewer unemployed than in June 2015 when the jobless rate was 6.6 percent.
Among Florida’s 25 metropolitan statistical areas, Homosassa Springs, which covers all of Citrus County, tied for the highest rate with Sebring, followed by The Villages at 6.6 percent, Sebastian-Vero Beach at 6.3 percent. The Ocala MSA had the fourth highest rate.
The Ocala metro’s nonagricultural employment in June was 98,800, an increase of 2,700 jobs (+2.8 percent) over the year. The Ocala MSA had the second fasted annual job growth rate compared to all the metro areas in the state in manufacturing (+6.6 percent) and the third in financial activities (+4.9 percent).
Industries gaining jobs over the year were education and health services (+1,000 jobs); leisure and hospitality (+700 jobs); manufacturing (+500 jobs); trade, transportation and utilities (+200 jobs); financial activities (+200 jobs); and government (+200 jobs).
Manufacturing, leisure and hospitality (+5.9 percent), education and health services (+5.7 percent), and financial activities grew faster in the metro area than statewide over the year.
Mining, logging and construction were the only industry sector losing jobs over the year (-100). Information, professional and business services, and other industries were unchanged.
In June, nonfarm employment for the Homosassa Springs MSA was 32,600, an increase of 100 jobs over the year (+0.3 percent).
The employment report for July will be released on Aug. 19.
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