Contact: Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
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Ocala metro posts state’s 2nd fastest growth rate in education and health services
OCALA, Fla. (DEC. 22, 2017) – The unemployment rate for November in the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion region edged up 0.4 percentage point over the month to 4.6 percent, after two months of holding steady. The rate was 1.3 percentage points lower than the region’s rate of a year ago.
According to today’s release of the preliminary jobs report by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the region’s labor force grew over the year by 185 to 198,788 and there were 9,151 unemployed, an increase of 788 over the month but a drop of 2,602 compared to the previous year.
Levy County continued to hold the lowest unemployment rate in the region at 4.0 percent, followed by Marion County at 4.4 percent and Citrus County at 5.3 percent. The state’s not seasonally adjusted rate rose slightly to 3.8 percent and the national rate held at 3.9 percent.
In November, nonfarm employment in the Ocala metropolitan statistical area was 104,900, an increase of 1,300 jobs (1.3 percent) over the year.
Kathleen Woodring, CareerSource CLM’s executive vice president, said, “At first glance, we may be tempted to say there’s not much good news in Santa’s bag with this report. But maybe we need a visit from the Ghost of Christmas (Jobs Reports) Past to put this in perspective.”
Woodring noted that, each November’s report for the last five years shows a similar pattern – slight increases in the unemployment rate over the month coupled with drops in both the number of unemployed and the size of the labor force.
“It’s true, at this time of year, we might expect seasonal hires to have a greater impact, but the best measure of how we’re doing is to see where we were in November 2016 when the unemployment rate was 5.9 percent,” she said, noting that over the year, the number of those with jobs in the region has increased by 2,787, the number of unemployed has dropped by 2,602 and the labor force has expanded by 185.
Levy County continued to hold the lowest unemployment rate at 3.6 percent, 0.1 percentage point lower than the previous month; followed by Marion County at 4.0 percent, also down 0.1 percent. Citrus County’s rate held at 4.9 percent.
DEO’s preliminary data shows marginal increases in the number of unemployed combined with a larger drop in the number of those with jobs which led to contraction of the labor force across the board.
Last month, Citrus County’s labor force shrank by 52 – a much smaller drop than the 1,106 reported in October – to 46,937, the number of employed decreased by 254 to 44,441 and the number of those without jobs rose by 207 to 2,496. That is 690 fewer unemployed and nearly 100 more than in November 2016 when the jobless rate was 6.7 percent.
Levy County’s labor force decreased by 141 to 16,794, the number of employed dropped by 197 to 16,128 and the number of unemployed increased by 56 to 666. That’s 275 fewer unemployed than a year ago when the jobless rate was 5.2 percent. That is 194 fewer unemployed than the previous year when the rate was 5.1 percent.
Marion County saw its labor force fall by 288 to 135,057, the number of employed decreased by 813 to 129,068 and the number of jobless rose by 525 to 5,989. Compared to November 2016 when the jobless rate was 5.8 percent, the labor force has expanded by 720, the number of employed increased by 2,458 and the number of unemployed dropped by 1,738.
Among the counties, Citrus County held the third highest unemployment rate; Marion County continued to hold the 13th highest, tied again with Dixie and Holmes counties; and Levy County tied with four other counties for the 25th highest rate.
The Homosassa Springs metropolitan statistical area (Citrus County) continued to hold the highest unemployment rate among Florida’s metros, followed by The Villages MSA, while the Ocala MSA held at the sixth highest.
The Ocala MSA had the second fastest annual job growth rate, compared to all the metro areas in the state, in education and health services which gained 1,000 jobs over the year for a growth rate of 5.4 percent.
Other industries gaining jobs over the year were mining, logging and construction (+300 jobs); manufacturing (+300 jobs); professional and business services (+100 jobs); and “other” services (+100 jobs).
Trade, transportation and utilities lost 400 jobs over the year, and the information industry lost 100 jobs.
Financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government industries were unchanged.
In November, nonagricultural employment in the Homosassa Springs MSA was 33,400, a decrease of 100 jobs (-0.3 percent) over the year.
The region’s employment summary for December will be released on Jan. 19, 2018.
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