May Report: Jobs Up, Joblessness Down


Media Contact: Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
Communications Manager
Direct: 352-291-9559 | Mobile: 352-816-1264
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OCALA, Fla. (June 17, 2016) – The unemployment rate in the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion region was 5.3 percent in May, down 0.3 percent over the month and 1.5 percentage point lower than the region’s rate of 6.8 percent a year ago.

Confounding expectations that the jobless rate would rise slightly, as is typical at this time of year, the decline appears to be driven both a drop in the number of unemployed as well as an increase in the number of those with jobs, which resulted in expansion of the labor force.

That bucks the national trend which saw the unemployment rate drop because people left the labor force, said Rusty Skinner, CEO of CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion.

While he is “cautiously optimistic” about the numbers, Skinner “wonders if the May report doesn’t reflect the kind of seasonal impacts we normally see.”

Historically, seasonality impacts unemployment rates regardless of the economic climate. Skinner said he still expects to see a “summer spike” in next month’s report for June. The hike in the rate is caused by a variety of factors, including college students returning to the area looking for work until they head back to school. Rates typically rebound by September or October, dropping below pre-spike levels.

“I think it’s highly likely that we’ll still see rates go up this summer, but in the meantime, what we’re seeing in the May report is positive and not what we typically experience,” he said.

According to today’s release of employment data by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), out of an expanded labor force of 194,532 for the three-county region, there were 10,406 unemployed, down 426 over the month. Compared to a year ago when the area’s unemployment rate was 6.8 percent, there are 3,011 fewer unemployed; at 184,126, the number of employed was up 781 over the month.

Florida’s not seasonally adjusted rate, which mirrors the local rates, was 4.4 percent, down 0.1 percentage point over the month, while the not seasonally adjusted national rate was 4.5 percent, down 0.2 percent. State and national adjusted rates were both 4.7 percent.

Levy County continues to hold the lowest unemployment rate in the region at 4.5 percent, down 0.4 percentage points; followed again by Marion County with 5.2 percent, down 0.2 percent; and Citrus County at 6.0 percent, a drop of 0.4 percent.

All three counties posted slight labor force and jobs gains and saw the number of unemployed drop:

Citrus County’s labor force grew by 46 to 47,305, the number of employed rose by 191 to 44,444 and the number of those without jobs dropped by 145 to 2,861. Compared to May 2015, when the jobless rate was 7.7 percent, there are 856 fewer unemployed.
Levy County’s labor force expanded by 23 to 16,296 and the number of employed increased by 77 to 15,557 while the number of jobless fell by 54 to 739. Over the year, when the unemployment rate was 5.9 percent, the number of unemployed has fallen by 244.

Marion County’s labor force rose by 286 to 130,931, the number of employed increased by 513 to 124,125 and the number of jobless dropped by 227to 6,806. That’s 1,911 fewer unemployed than in May 2015 when the jobless rate was 6.6 percent.
Unemployment rates dropped in 64 of Florida’s 67 counties and remained unchanged in three.

Citrus County held the third highest rate among counties, behind Sumter County at 6.3 percent and Hendy County at 7.0 percent. Marion County had the 10th highest rate and Levy County was 27th.

Among Florida’s 24 metropolitan statistical areas, Homosassa Springs, which covers all of Citrus County, had the second highest rate behind The Villages at 6.3 percent. The Ocala MSA, which includes all of Marion County, had the sixth highest rate.

The Ocala metros nonagricultural employment in May was 99,400, an increase of 2,000 jobs (+2.1 percent) over the year. The Ocala MSA was tied for the fastest annual growth rate compared to all metro areas in education and health services at 5.7 percent, adding 1,000 jobs over the year.

Both education and health services, along with manufacturing’s 5.3 percent job growth rate (+400 jobs) grew faster than statewide over the year.

Other industries gaining jobs were leisure and hospitality (+400 jobs); trade, transportation and utilities (+200 jobs); government (+200 jobs); and financial activities (+100 jobs).

Professional and business services lost 200 jobs; and mining, logging and construction lost 100 jobs over the year.

Information and other services industries were unchanged.

In May, nonfarm employment for the Homosassa Springs MSA was 33,100, an increase of 200 jobs over the year.

The employment report for June will be released on July 15.


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