Media Contact: Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
Direct: 352.291.9559 Mobile: 352.816.1264
OCALA, Fla. (May 21, 2021) – The CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion region is bouncing back in a major way from its Covid-19 induced slump. While the unemployment rate for April, at 5.5 percent, remains nearly the same as the previous month, it is down from the year ago rate of 13.1 percent.
Across the three-county region, the labor force expanded over the year by 17,075 to 210,741, the number of those with jobs grew by 30,736 to 199,045, and the number of unemployed dropped by 13,661 to 11,696.
According to preliminary employment numbers for April, released today by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Levy County continues to hold the lowest jobless rate in the region at 4.9 percent, down 0.1 percentage point over the month; Marion County followed with a rate of 5.4 percent, the same rate as March; and Citrus County’s rate was 6.2 percent, a decrease of 0.2 percentage point. Florida’s not seasonally adjusted jobless rate – a measure that matches the way local rates are calculated – was 5.1 percent, down 0.2 percentage point over the month and 8.8 percent lower than April 2020.
Rusty Skinner, CEO of CareerSource CLM, said “our metrics show a sound recovery continuing. All three counties have had significant growth in labor force participation and employment since last year this time. Our gains continue in these areas over last month.”
Skinner added that “this report shows a strong labor market for returning workers” which is significant as DEOs reemployment assistance (unemployment compensation) waivers end May 29.
“Locally, we have job postings that are strong and offer great opportunities to those seeking work,” he said.
The nonagricultural employment in the Ocala metropolitan statistical area, which covers all of Marion County, was 108,400 in April representing a 10.4 percent increase of 10,200 jobs over the year. Of those, private industry accounted for 9,900 new jobs, which is a job growth rate of 11.9 percent, for a total employment of 93,400.
In the Homosassa Springs MSA, which includes all of Citrus County, there were 33,100 nonfarm jobs, an increase of 3,800 jobs over the year for an annual growth rate of 13 percent, the eighth fastest growth rate among all Florida metro areas. All of the new growth occurred in the private sector, which reported 28,700 nonfarm jobs in April, reflecting a 15.3 percent private sector job growth rate over the year.
Here is the breakdown of April jobs numbers for each county:
Citrus County’s labor force in April contracted slightly by 90 to 48,749, the number of employed rose by 22 to 45,731 and the number of unemployed fell by 112 to 3,018. Compared to April 2020 when the unemployment rate was 15.5 percent, the labor force grew by 3,939, there are 7,843 more employed and 3,914 fewer unemployed.
Levy County’s labor force was virtually unchanged, inching up by 12 over the month to 17,424, the number of those with jobs increased by 36 to 16,576, and the number of jobless dropped by 24 to 848. Over the year, when the jobless rate was 10.8 percent, those numbers represent 1,571 more in the labor force, an increase of 2,434 with jobs employed and decrease of 863 unemployed.
Marion County’s labor force grew by 999 to 144,568, the number of those with jobs went up by 955 to 136,738, and the number of unemployed increased by 44 to 7,830. Compared to the same time last year, when the jobless rate was 12.6 percent, the labor force expanded by 11,575, the number of employed grew by 20,459 and the number of jobless dropped by 8,884.
The following industries in the Ocala MSA grew faster than statewide over the year: leisure and hospitality (+40.7 percent, up by 3,500 jobs for a total of 12,100); trade, transportation, and utilities (+11.6 percent an increase of 2,800 for 27,000 jobs); professional and business services (+9.9 percent, up 900 jobs for a total of 10,000); manufacturing (+7.6 percent, representing 900 new jobs for a total of 9,900); mining, logging, and construction (+7.2 percent, an increase of 600 jobs for a total of 8,900); and government (+2.0 percent which reflects an increase of 300 jobs for a total of 15,000).
Compared to all metro areas in Florida, the Ocala MSA tied for the third fastest annual job growth rate in government.
Other industries gaining jobs over the year were education and health services (+3,500 jobs for a 5.8 percent job growth rate and 18,300 total jobs); other services (+300 jobs for a 11.5 percent growth rate and a total of 2,900 jobs); and financial activities (+100 jobs reflecting a 2.7 percent growth rate for a total of 3,800 new jobs).
The information industry, with total employment of 500 jobs, was unchanged over the year.
Among the state’s 67 counties, Citrus County dropped from third to sixth highest jobless rate, tying with Sumter County; Marion County fell back from the 11th highest rate to 14th, tying with St. Lucie and Taylor counties; and Levy County, which went from 23rd to 26th highest rate, tied with Calhoun, Columbia, Escambia, and Suwannee counties.
Among the states metro areas, the Homosassa Springs MSA maintained the third highest rate, tying in April with the Village MSA, and the Ocala MSA posted the seventh highest rate, falling back one place.
The region’s preliminary employment summary for May will be released on Friday, June 18.
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 $8.7 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 Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn.