Media Contact: Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
Direct: 352.291.9559 | Mobile: 352.816.1264
OCALA, Fla. (May 17, 2019) – How low can you go? The jobless rate in the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion region was 3.7 percent in April – 0.5 percentage point lower than both the March rate and the region’s year ago rate of 4.2 percent.
The last time the region saw a comparable rate was April 2007 at 3.8 percent.
According to the preliminary employment summary released today by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, there were 7,449 unemployed in the region, 932 fewer than the previous month and 1,045 less than in April 2018.
DEO reports the region’s labor force in April was 200,754 and there were 193,305 people working.
Levy County, with 579 unemployed, continued to hold the lowest unemployment rate at 3.4 percent, down 0.5 percentage point over the month; the last time it was 3.4 percent was March 2006 when there were 1,845 out of work. Marion County, with 4,797 jobless, followed with 3.5 percent, a drop of 0.4 percentage point over the month; the closest the county came to matching that rate was 3.6 percent in December 2006 when there were 48,736 unemployed. Citrus County, with 2,073 unemployed, saw its rate drop 4.3 percent from 4.9 percent over the month; the county’s jobless rate is the same as in May 2007 when there were 2,904 unemployed.
Florida’s not seasonally adjusted rate – a rate that matches how the region’s numbers are measured – was 2.9 percent, down 0.4 percentage point over the month and half a point less than April 2018.
“It’s good that the number of unemployed has dropped for each county, that shows we continue to move in the right direction,” said Kathleen Woodring, CareerSource CLM’s executive vice president. “And while, with the exception of Marion County, we’re also seeing slight decreases in the number of those with jobs, that’s certainly no cause for alarm.”
Woodring pointed to the 12 hiring events held by CareerSource CLM in April, four more so far in May, as well as two job fairs as a sign of “robust” hiring activity in the region.
“Businesses from Custom Windows System to AutoZone to the US Census Bureau are hiring,” she said. “We also held a Medical Career Fair in April. Earlier this week, at the sixth annual Youth Job Fair held in partnership with Marion County Public Schools, 400 candidates had the opportunity to meet with 34 businesses all eager to hire 16 to 24-year olds.”
Here’s how the employment numbers looked for each county in the region:
Citrus County’s labor force contracted by 367 to 47,694, the number of employed fell by 101 to 45,621 and the number of unemployed decreased by 266 to 2,073. Over the year, the labor force has remained about the same, growing by 5, the number of employed rose by 240 and the number of unemployed dropped by 235.
Levy County’s labor force decreased by 138 to 16,894, the number of those with jobs fell by 59 to 16,315 and the number of jobless decreased by 79 to 579. That’s 126 fewer in the labor force, compared to April 2018 when the jobless rate was also 3.6 percent, as well as 97 fewer employed and 29 fewer unemployed.
Marion County’s labor force shrank by 522 to 136,165, the number of those with jobs rose by 65 to 131,368 and the number of unemployed decreased by 587 to 4,797. Over the year, when the jobless rate was 4.1 percent, the labor force has grown by 870, the number of employed has increased by 1,651 and the number of unemployed has dropped by 781.
Among Florida’s 67 counties, Citrus County dropped from the second to third highest rate behind Gulf and Sumter counties; Marion County continued to hold the 13th highest rate, tied with Glades, Madison and St. Lucie counties; and Levy County tied with Dixie, Flagler and Indian River counties with the 17th highest rate.
The Homosassa Springs metropolitan statistical area, which includes all of Citrus County, dropped to second highest behind The Villages among Florida’s 24 metros, while the Ocala MSA continued to hold the fifth highest rate.
Nonfarm employment for the Ocala MSA was 107,000, an increase of 2,700 jobs (+2.6 percent) over the year.
Industries that grew faster in the Ocala metro area than statewide over there year were: mining, logging and construction with 600 new jobs (+7.8 percent job growth); manufacturing with 400 new jobs (+4.8 percent); professional and business services with 400 new jobs (+4.2 percent); and government with 300 new jobs (+2.0 percent).
Other industries gaining jobs over the year were education and health services which added 600 new jobs (+3.2 percent job growth), leisure and hospitality with 300 new jobs (+2.3 percent); and trade, transportation and utilities with 200 jobs (+0.8 percentage point).
The information industry lost 100 jobs over the year, while financial activities and other services were unchanged.
In April 2019, nonagricultural employment in the Homosassa Springs MSA was 34,300, an increase of 700 new jobs over the year (+2.1 percent).
The region’s preliminary job numbers for May will be released on Friday, June 21.
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