Media Contact: Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
Direct: 352.291.9559 Mobile: 352.816.1264
OCALA, Fla. (Oct. 22, 2021) –The unemployment rate in the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion region fell to 4.8% in September, down 0.7 percentage points over the month and 1.4 percentage points lower than the year ago rate of 6.2%.
Across the three counties, the labor force was 212,858 in September, up 10,428 or 5.2% over the year, but a slight dip of 775 compared to the previous month. There were 202,560 employed, a bump of 763 since August and an increase of 12,624 over the year. There were 10,298 unemployed in the region, down 1,538 over the month and 2,196 fewer than September 2020.
According to today’s release of preliminary employment numbers by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Levy County continues to hold the lowest jobless rate in the region at 4.3% percent, down 0.7 percentage point over the month; Marion County followed with a rate of 4.7%, also a drop of 0.7 percentage point; and Citrus County’s rate fell a full percentage point to 5.3%. Florida’s not seasonally adjusted jobless rate – a measure that matches the way local rates are calculated – was 4.3%, a decrease of 0.6 percentage point over the month and 3.0% lower than September 2020.
Rusty Skinner, CEO of CareerSource CLM, said that the modest contraction in the region’s labor force over the month was due to drops in Citrus and Marion counties. He noted that, at the same time both counties experienced strong job gains and drops in the number of unemployed while Levy County reported positive signs in all three economic indicators.
“This report continues to show the uneven recovery from COVID,” Skinner said. “We are at a period of strong job openings, but in September, continued to see reluctance in workers returning to work.”
Skinner added that “while many see this as a product of federal COVID assistance, our experience would indicate that there are a number of other reasons that affect individuals’ return to work.”
Many of those reasons are explored in CareerSource CLM’s Biz Spot podcast, “Where Have All the Job Applicants Gone?” that drops on Oct. 28.
Here is a breakdown of the September jobs numbers for each county:
Citrus County’s labor force shrank by 190 over the month to 48,994 while the number of employed rose by 286 to 46,373, and the number of unemployed fell by 476 to 2,621. Compared to September 2020 when the unemployment rate was 6.9%, the labor force grew by 2,366, there were 2,979 more employed and 613 fewer unemployed.
Levy County’s labor force grew by 134 to 17,936, the number of those with jobs increased by 251 to 17,163, and the number of jobless decreased by 117 to 773. Over the year, when the jobless rate was 5.0%, those numbers represent 1,054 more in the labor force, an increase of 1,127 with jobs, and a decrease of 73 unemployed.
Marion County’s labor force contracted by 719 to 145,928, the number of those with jobs increased by 226 to 139,024, and the number of unemployed dropped by 945 to 6,904. Compared to the same time last year, when the jobless rate was 6.1%, the labor force expanded by 7,008, the number of employed increased by 8,518, and the number of unemployed dropped by 1,510.
The nonagricultural employment in the Ocala metropolitan statistical area, which covers all of Marion County, was 108,300 in September, an increase of 2,500 jobs over the year for a 2.4% annual growth rate.
For the second consecutive month, the Ocala MSA had the second fastest annual job growth rate compared to all the metro areas in the state in manufacturing at 7.4%. Manufacturing added 700 jobs over the year for a total of 10,200 jobs.
In the Homosassa Springs MSA, which includes all of Citrus County, there were 32,800 nonfarm jobs, an increase of 800 jobs over the year for an annual growth rate of 2.5%.
Other industries gaining jobs over the year in the Ocala metro area were trade, transportation, and utilities (+1,200 jobs); leisure and hospitality (+600 jobs); mining, logging, and construction (+400 jobs); professional and business services (+200 jobs); education and health services (+200 jobs); and other services (+200 jobs).
Manufacturing as well as mining, logging, and construction at a 4.7% annual job growth rate; and trade, transportation, and utilities, at 4.6%, grew faster in the Ocala MSA that statewide over the year.
The government industry lost 1,000 jobs over the month while the information and financial activities industries were unchanged.
Among Florida’s 67 counties, Citrus County’s unemployment rate dropped from sixth to eighth highest ranked; Marion County held at 13th highest; and Levy County dropped from 19th to 21st highest, tying with Calhoun, Charlotte, Jackson, Jefferson, Lake, Suwannee, Taylor, and Volusia counties.
The Homosassa Springs MSA continued to hold the fourth highest among the state’s 24 metros and the Ocala MSA stayed at sixth.
The region’s preliminary employment summary for October will be released on Friday, Nov. 19.
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 Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn.