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Ocala metro information industry job growth rate now second fastest in Florida

OCALA, Fla. (April 15, 2022) –The unemployment rate in the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion region was 3.2% in March, a drop of nearly a full percentage point over the month and 2.5 percentage points lower than the region’s year ago rate of 5.7%.

The last time the region’s March unemployment rate was this low was in 2006. Back then, the price of gas averaged $2.59 a gallon, a new Honda Accord started at $18,225, a movie ticket would set you back $6.55 and the cost of the average burger at McDonald’s was 94 cents.

Across the three-county region, the labor force in March 2022 was 206,937, up 1,478 over the year for an annual growth rate of 0.7%. The number of those with jobs was 200,218, an increase of 6,425 compared to March 2021. The number of unemployed was 6,719, down 1,055 from the previous month and 4,947 fewer than one year ago.

According to today’s release of preliminary employment numbers by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Levy and Marion counties again held the lowest jobless rates in the region at 3.1%, both down 0.5 percentage point over the month and 1.9 percentage points and 2.4 percentage points respectively lower than March 2021. Citrus County followed with an unemployment rate of 3.7% percent, a drop of 0.6 percentage point over the month and a decrease of 2.7 percentage points compared to the previous March.

Florida’s not seasonally adjusted jobless rate – a measure that matches the way local rates are calculated – was 2.7%, a 0.4 percentage point decrease over the month and 2.6% lower than March 2021.

Dale French, CareerSource CLM’s executive vice president, said the report reflects a “trifecta of positive economic indicators.”

French said that in each county, both over the month and over the year, expansion of the labor force is fueled by an increase in the number of jobs as well as a drop in the number of unemployed.

“You certainly have times when the labor force expands because more people flood the labor market looking for jobs that aren’t there,” French said. “But anytime we see this kind of consistent new job creation, on top of fewer unemployed, we’re moving in the right direction.”

The following is a summary of March employment numbers for each county:

Citrus County’s labor force grew by 130 to 47,545, the number of employed climbed to 45,789 for a boost of 428, and the number of unemployed dropped by 298 to 1,756. Compared to March 2021, when the unemployment rate was 6.4%, there are now 1,391 more workers and 1,294 fewer unemployed.

Levy County’s labor force expanded by just 3 – but expanded nonetheless – to 16,932, the number of those with jobs increased by 87 to 16,415, and the number of unemployed decreased by 84 to 517. Over the year, when the jobless rate was 5.0%, there are 503 more employed and 323 fewer unemployed.

Marion County’s labor force increased by 197 to 142,460, the number of those with jobs rose by 870 to 138,014, and the number of unemployed dropped by 673 to 4,446. Compared to the same time last year, when the jobless rate was 5.5%, the number of employed increased by 4,531 and the number of unemployed dropped by 3,330.

Nonagricultural employment in the Ocala metropolitan statistical area, which covers all of Marion County, was 112,100 in March, an increase of 2,400 jobs over the year for a 2.2% annual growth rate.

Compared to all the metros across the state, the Ocala MSA posted the second fastest annual job growth rate in the information industry at 20.0%, growing faster in the metro area than statewide.

Information jobs consist of publishing Industries, except Internet; broadcasting, except Internet; telecommunications; wired telecommunications carriers; and data processing, hosting, and related services. In March, the Ocala metro had 600 information sector jobs, an increase of 100 jobs over the year.

Other industries gaining jobs over the year were trade, transportation, and utilities (+1,500 jobs for a 5.5% job growth rate); leisure and hospitality (+700 jobs for a growth rate of 5.6%); mining, logging, and construction (+200 jobs for a growth rate of 2.2%); manufacturing (+100 jobs, growing at 1.0% over the year); financial activities (+100 jobs for a 2.5% growth rate); education and health services (+100 jobs for a 0.5 percentage point gain); and other services (+100 jobs, growing at 3.4%).

Industries losing jobs compared to March 2021 were government (-300 jobs which posted a -2.0% growth rate) and professional and business services (-200 jobs which grew at -1.9%).

In the Homosassa Springs MSA, which includes all Citrus County, there were 33,900 nonfarm jobs, an increase of 600 jobs from a year ago for an annual growth rate of 1.8%.

Miami-Dade County was the only one of Florida’s 67 counties to post an increased unemployment rate.

Citrus County tied with Hamilton County with the fourth highest rate. Levy and Marion counties tied for the 10th highest rate along with Polk and Taylor counties. Highlands County had the highest rate at 3.9% and Monroe County held the lowest rate at 1.7%.

Among the state’s 24 metro areas, the Homosassa Springs MSA maintained the second highest jobless rate, and the Ocala MSA tied with the Lakeland-Winter Haven MSA with the fourth highest. The Villages MSA, which includes a portion of Marion County, continued to hold the third highest rate.

The monthly jobs report for April will be released on Friday, May 20.


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 $7.9 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 FacebookTwitterYouTube,  and LinkedIn

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