Media Contact: Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
Communications Manager
Direct: 352.291.9559 Mobile: 352.816.1264
[email protected]

OCALA, Fla. (March 15, 2021) – The unemployment rate in the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion region was 5.5 percent in January, up 1.4 percent over December 2020 and 0.9 percentage point higher than the same time last year. There were 11,193 unemployed in the region, an increase of 2,882 over the month and 1,706 more than in January 2020.

According to Adrienne Johnston, Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity’s director of the Division of Workforce Services, every March DEO and the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics release January employment and unemployment estimates as well as revised historical data.

Today’s release is a result of that annual “benchmarking” process and, Johnston said in a statement, uses a new statistical model reflecting the “unprecedented economic changes that occurred this past year.”

The Ocala metropolitan statistical area, which includes all of Marion County, was among the revisions of nonfarm job counts going back to 2004.

Dale French, CareerSource CLM’s executive vice president, said that while many of the “unprecedented” impacts, such as layoffs related to Covid-19, would not hit the region until later, “I think it’s important to point out that we are only 0.9 percentage point higher in unemployment than last year while dealing with Covid restrictions we did not have a year ago.”

French added that the region’s continued recovery is well positioned as “we have had more job orders consistently month over month compared to the same period a year prior.”

From July through December 2019, before Covid restrictions were in effect, businesses posted 3,285 job orders; while July through December 2020, there have been 3,590 job orders.

According to January’s preliminary jobs report, Levy County maintained the lowest jobless rate in the region at 4.7 percent, up 1.0 percent point over the month; Marion County followed with a rate of 5.3 percent, an increase of 1.4 percent; and Citrus County’s rate was 6.3 percent, up 1.5 percent compared to December 2020. Florida’s not seasonally adjusted jobless rate – a measure that matches the way local rates are calculated – was 5.3 percent, an increase of 1.1 percent over the month and 1.9 percent higher than January 2020.

Citrus County’s labor force in January expanded by 645 to 46,770, the number of employed decreased by 69 to 43,846 and the number of unemployed increased by 714 to 2,924. Compared to the previous year, when the jobless rate was 5.6 percent, the labor force shrank by 683, employment fell by 942 and the number of unemployed increased by 259.

Levy County’s labor force increased by 330 to 17,041, the number of those with jobs rose by 149 to 16,243 and the number of jobless increased by 181 to 798. Over the year, those numbers represent 113 more in the labor force, an increase of 21 employed and an increase of 92 unemployed when the unemployment rate was 4.2 percent.

Marion County’s labor force grew by 2,307 to 141,221, the number of those with jobs increased by 320 to 133,750, and the number of unemployed increased by 1,987 to 7,471. Compared to the same time last year, when the jobless rate was 4.3 percent, the labor force grew by 585, the number of employed dropped by 770 and the number of unemployed rose by 1,355.

Nonfarm employment in the Ocala metropolitan statistical area, which covers all of Marion County, was 107,400, a decrease of 1,700 jobs (-1.6 percent) over the year.

However, French noted that there were bright spots in the latest report:

To begin with, the Ocala MSA was tied for the fastest annual job growth rate compared to all other metro areas in the state in manufacturing (+3.2 percent) as well as posted the second highest annual job growth in manufacturing adding 300 new jobs over the year for a total of 9,700.

The Ocala metro also had the second highest annual job growth in trade, transportation, and utilities, adding 800 new jobs over the year for a total of 27,100 jobs, as well as the third fastest annual job growth (+3.0 percent) in that industry sector.

Both industry sectors grew faster in the metro area than statewide over the year, as did professional and businesses services (+5.3 percent and 500 new jobs), and mining, logging, and construction (+1.2 percent adding 100 new jobs).

Industries that lost jobs over the year in January were leisure and hospitality (-1,600 jobs), education and health services (-1,000 jobs), government (-400 jobs), other services (-200 jobs), information (-100 jobs), and financial activities (-100 jobs).

In January, nonfarm employment in the Homosassa Springs MSA, which includes all of Citrus County, was 32,100, a decrease of 1,000 jobs (-3.0 percent) over the year.

Statewide, all 67 counties experienced unemployment rate increases over the month.

Citrus County tied with Highlands County with the 5th highest jobless rate; Marion, Broward and Madison counties tied with the 15th highest rate; and Levy County tied with Duval, Gilchrist, Holmes and Lafayette counties with the 35th highest rate.

Among the states metro areas, the Homosassa Springs MSA tied with the Sebring MSA with the 2nd highest unemployment rate and the Ocala MSA tied with the Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach MD with the 7th highest. At 6.0 percent, the Villages MSA, which includes a portion of Marion County, held the 7th highest rate.

The region’s preliminary employment summary for February will be released on Friday, March 26.


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 $8.7 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 FacebookTwitterYouTubeInstagram and LinkedIn. please call 800-434-5627, ext. 7878 or e-mail [email protected]. Please make request at least three business days in advance. Like us on Facebook follow us on TwitterYouTubeInstagram and LinkedIn.


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