Contact: Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
352-291-5999 | 352-816-1264
OCALA (July 20, 2018) – Along with summer heat and humidity, the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion region saw a seasonal uptick in the unemployment rate in June.
The unemployment rate for the region is 4.9 percent, up 0.7 percentage point over the month and down nearly half a percent compared to the same time last year. The labor force was 202,500, up 2,574 (+1.3 percent) over the year. There were 9,867 unemployed residents in the region, representing an increase of 1,451 over the month and 631 fewer than June 2017.
According to today’s release of the June employment summary by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Levy County had the lowest jobless rate in the region at 4.2 percent, followed by Marion County with 4.7 percent, and Citrus County at 5.6 percent. Florida’s not seasonally adjusted jobless rate – a measure that matches the way local rates are calculated – is 3.9 percent, an increase of half a percent over the month.
CareerSource CLM’s CEO Rusty Skinner said the report shows the region experiencing month-by-month labor market fluctuations. In some cases, such as labor force expansion in Marion and Citrus counties, it could indicate that “either new entrants or returnees are active in our rebounding economy,” he said, noting that at the same time Levy County saw a decline in the size of its labor force and both Levy and Marion counties experienced shrinkage in the number of those with jobs.
“These factors increased the number of unemployed and rise in the unemployment rates over the previous month,” he said. “However, when you compare (June) to the same month last year, we see that the long-term trends in labor force and employment shows positive movement.”
Over the year, the region’s labor force has grown by 2,574, the number of employed is up by 3,205 and the number of unemployed is down by 631.
“Recently a national economist talked about the monthly variations in employment factors and emphasized that tracking monthly ups and downs was not a true reflection on the overall movement of the economy and that the long-term comparisons were better measures of the economic health and direction,” Skinner said. “This is not to minimize the struggles of those affected by negative monthly variations, but to focus on the fact that those negatives in one month often swing to positive the following month.”
Skinner noted that June typically also ushers in the beginning of a summer spike in unemployment driven by seasonal factors, such as release of school support personnel for the summer as well as college students returning to the area looking for temporary work until they head back to school.
Here’s how the employment numbers break down for each county:
Citrus County’s labor force grew by 685 to 49,085, employment increased by 282 to 46,355 while the number of jobless rose by 403 to 2,730. That’s an increase of 848 employed and 134 fewer unemployed compared to June 2017 when the unemployment rate was 5.9 percent.
Levy County’s labor force shrank by 306 over the month to 16,823, the number of those with jobs fell by 412 to 16,116 and the number of unemployed increased by 106 to 707. Compared to June 2017 when the jobless rate was 4.6 percent, that’s an increase of 160 employed and decrease of 57 unemployed.
Marion County’s labor force expanded by 335 to 136,592, the number of those with jobs decreased by 607 to 130,162, and the number of unemployed rose by 942 to 6,430. Since June 2017, when the unemployment rate was 5.1 percent, the labor force has grown by 1,757, the number of employed has increased by 2,197 and the number of unemployed has dropped by 440.
Over the month, unemployment rates rose in all 67 counties. Compared to June 2017, rates dropped in 62 counties, were unchanged in three and rose in two counties.
Citrus County’s continued to hold the third highest unemployment rate among Florida’s counties, Marion County fell a notch to 12th highest and Levy County tied with four other counties for the 23rd highest rate.
Among the metro areas, the Homosassa Springs/Citrus County MSA had the second highest rate behind The Villages and the Ocala MSA held the fifth highest rate.
Nonfarm employment in the Ocala/Marion County metropolitan statistical area was 103,800, a dip of 700 jobs since May but an increase of 2,000 jobs (+2 percent) over the year.
For the fourth consecutive month, the Ocala MSA posted the fastest annual job growth rate compared to all metro areas in the state in education and health services at 6.5 percent. In June there were 19,600 jobs in education and health services, an increase of 100 jobs over the month and 1,200 more than in June 2017.
In the Ocala MSA, education and health services, manufacturing (500 new jobs for an increase of 6 percent growth), and professional and business services (300 new jobs for an increase of 3.3 percent) grew faster in the metro area than statewide over the year.
Leisure and hospitality also gained 400 jobs over the year.
Industries losing jobs over the year were mining, logging and construction (-200); financial activities (-100); and government (-100 jobs)
Unchanged over the year were trade, transportation and utilities; information; and other services.
In June, nonfarm payroll employment in the Homosassa Springs MSA was 33,800, up 200 jobs compared to the previous month and an increase over the year of 700 jobs for a growth rate of 2.1 percent.
The region’s employment summary for July will be released on Friday, Aug. 17.
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