Media Contact: Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
Direct: 352.291.9559 Mobile: 352.816.1264
OCALA, Fla. (July 17, 2020) – The unemployment rate in the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion region was 8.8 percent in June, down 2.4 percentage point over the month, 4.4 percentage point higher than the region’s rate a year ago and 1.9 percentage point lower than the state rate of 10.7 percent. There were 17,204 unemployed in the region, 4,460 fewer than in May and 8,339 more than June 2019 when the jobless rate was 4.0 percent.
The region’s labor force was 194,802, an increase of 926 since May and a loss of 7,341 over the year. There were 177,598 employed, representing a one-month increase of 5,386 and a drop of 15,680 compared to June 2019.
Nonfarm employment in the Ocala/Marion County metropolitan statistical area was 104,400, a decrease of 1,300 jobs (-1.2 percent) over the year.
The Ocala MSA had both the highest annual job growth and job growth rate in trade, transportation and utilities, at 300 jobs and 1.2 percent, compared to all the metro areas in the state.
In addition, mining, logging and construction grew faster in the metro area than statewide, adding 400 new jobs for a growth rate of 4.7 percent over the year.
According to the preliminary jobs report for June, released today by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Levy County had the lowest jobless rate in the region at 7.5 percent, down 1.6 percentage point over the month; Marion County followed at 8.5 percent, a 2.2 percentage point drop; and Citrus County’s rate was 10.2 percent, down 3.1 percentage point from May. Florida’s not seasonally adjusted jobless rate – a measure that matches the way local rates are calculated – was 10.7 percent, down 2.8 percentage point over the month and an increase of 7.4 percentage point compared to June 2019. The nation’s jobless rate was 11.2 percent, down from 13 percent in May and up 7.4 percentage point over the year.
Rusty Skinner, chief executive officer for CareerSource CLM, said that the June report offers plenty of reason to be “cautiously optimistic.”
“This unemployment data for our three-county area shows a positive movement in all three counties,” Skinner said. “Labor Force and Employment have increased, while the number of our citizens that are unemployed has decreased. We should be positive about this movement in June, but also be cautiously optimistic. We continue to see major hiring in Marion County as a result of its economic development efforts and this likely affects all our counties.”
Skinner noted that that in addition to continuing to offer fee-free virtual assistance to businesses and job seekers and providing in-person services, by appointment only, at the region’s career centers, CareerSource CLM now offers virtual job fairs and hiring events.
“We had nearly 300 job seekers register for last month’s job fair, held via Zoom, and businesses are really embracing this option,” Skinner said. “At the same time, we continue to explore ways to offer training and certifications that serve both employers and candidates.” Other initiatives include a grant to place those laid off due to COVID-19 in paid positions with area nonprofits, and an Electronic Associate apprenticeship with Lockheed Martin.
Skinner reiterated that while none of the CareerSource Florida regions administer the state’s Reemployment Assistance (Unemployment Insurance) program, staff has restricted ability to assist claimants.
“It’s often easier to work with us directly to get answers,” he said. “We can’t promise we’ll be able to solve all issues, and we can’t process or expedite payments, but we can help in spotting red flags which may be holding things up.”
Statewide, 63 counties including Citrus, Levy and Marion saw drops in unemployment, four counties experienced slight increases ranging from 0.1 to 0.3 percent points.
Here’s a breakdown of region’s June jobs numbers by county:
Citrus County’s labor force shrank by 413 over the month to 45,375, the number of employed increased by 1,023 to 40,729 and the number of unemployed dropped by 1,436 to 4,646. Compared to June 2019, when the jobless rate was 5.1 percent, the labor force has contracted by 2,300, the number of employed has dropped by 4,501 and the number of unemployed increased by 2,201.
Levy County’s labor force expanded by 193 to 15,478, the number of those with jobs rose by 424 to 14,312 and the number of unemployed fell by 231 to 1,166. That’s an over-the-year drop of 1034 in the labor force, 1,516 fewer working and 982 more unemployed compared to when the rate was 4.1 percent.
Marion County’s labor force increased by 1,146 to 133,949, the number of those with jobs increased by 3,939 to 122,557 and the number of unemployed dropped by 2,793 to 11,392. That’s 4,007 fewer than the size of the labor force a year ago, a drop of 9,663 in the number of those with jobs and an increase of 5,656 in the number of unemployed compared to June 2019 when the jobless rate was 4.2 percent.
In June, Citrus County tied with Hernando County posting the 10th highest jobless rate among all 67 counties; Marion County dropped two spots to 29th highest tied with Brevard and Hardee counties; and Levy County moved from 40th to 36th highest tied with Glades County. Osceola County held the highest rate at 22.9 percent and Lafayette the lowest at 4.9 percent.
Among the metro areas, the Homosassa Springs/Citrus County MSA slipped from the fifth to sixth highest rate and the Ocala MSA dropped from 16th to the 17th highest rate, tied with the Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville MSA. The Villages, which includes a portion of Marion County, jumped from the 14th to 8th highest jobless rate among metros.
Other than mining, logging and construction and trade, transportation and utilities, no industry sectors grew in the Ocala MSA over the year. Those losing jobs were education and health services (-600 jobs); professional and business services (-500 jobs); information (-200 jobs); manufacturing (-200 jobs); financial activities (-200 jobs); other services (-200 jobs); and leisure and hospitality (-100 jobs). The government industry was unchanged over the year.
In June, nonfarm employment in the Homosassa Springs MSA was 31,700, a decrease of 1,400 jobs (-4.2 percent) over the year.
The region’s preliminary employment summary for July will be released on August 21.
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