Ocala MSA education and health services job growth rate second fastest in state, manufacturing third fastest
Media Contact: Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
Direct: 352-291-9559 | Mobile: 352-816-1264
OCALA, Fla. (Jan. 20, 2017) – The jobless rate in the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion area was 5.9 percent in December 2016, down 0.2 percent over the month and the same as the region’s rate a year ago. Out of a labor force of 197,029 there were 11,565 unemployed, or 488 fewer than the previous month.
At the same time, the number of employed in the region increased over the month by 556 to 185,464 or 2,945 more than were working in December 2015.
Compared to all other metro areas in Florida, the Ocala metropolitan statistical area had the second fastest annual job growth rate in education and health services, at 7.3 percent, and the third fastest rate in manufacturing, at 5.2 percent.
Additionally, nonfarm employment for the Ocala MSA, which includes all of Marion County, hit 101,600 – up 2,400 jobs over the year.
According to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s December jobs report for the three-county region, Levy County continued to hold the lowest unemployment rate at 5.1 percent, down 0.2 percentage point over the month; Marion County dropped to 5.7 percent, down 0.3 percent; and Citrus County fell 0.1 percent point to 6.7 percent.
Rusty Skinner, CEO of CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion, said the report shows strong job growth in Marion County both over the month and over the year, adding 630 and 2,615 new jobs respectively.
Over the month, the labor force, employment and number of unemployed all nudged down, albeit slightly, in Citrus and Levy counties. There were modest gains, however, in employment and the size of the labor force over the year.
“We’re seeing ups and downs – mostly down – from the last report for Citrus and Levy counties. That could be seasonal, and some of the growth in Marion County could be seasonal, too,” Skinner said. “But when you have more than 2,600 new jobs, the growth shows we’re getting some benefit from the recovery in Marion County first and the other counties have yet to catch up.”
According to the preliminary numbers, Marion County’s labor force grew by 262 to 132,884, the number of those with jobs increased by 630 to 125,337 and the number of unemployed fell by 368 to 7,547. In December 2015, the unemployment rate was also 5.7 percent and while there were 180 fewer unemployed, over the year the number of people working grew by 2,615 and the labor force expanded by 2,795
Levy County's labor force shrank by 93 to 16,660, the number of employed fell by 59 to 15,806, and the number of jobless dropped by 34 to 854. In December 2015, the unemployment rate was the same and there were 18 fewer unemployed. By the same token, the number of employed increased since then by 254 and the labor force expanded by 272.
Citrus County's labor force decreased by 101 to 47,485, the number of employed fell by 15 to 44,321 and those unemployed fell by 86 to 3,164.The unemployment rate is up 0.1 percent compared to December 2015. Over the year, the labor force expanded by 94, the number of employed increased by 76 and the number of jobless went up for 18.
Unemployment rates fell in 21 of the state’s workforce development regions, increased in two and remained the same in one. Among Florida’s counties, Citrus County held the second highest unemployment rate at 6.7 percent, behind Hendry County’s 8.0 percent; Marion County ranked 9th and Levy County was in a six-way tie for 26th highest rate.
Among the metro areas, Homosassa Springs had the highest rate followed by The Villages at 6.6 percent and Ocala had the fifth highest rate.
Industries gaining jobs over the year in the Ocala MSA were education and health services (+1,300 jobs); trade, transportation and utilities (+600 jobs); manufacturing and leisure and hospitality (4500 jobs each); and government (+100 jobs).
Professional and business services lost 400 jobs over the year. Mining, logging and construction along with information each lost 100 jobs over the year.
The financial activities industry sector and other services were unchanged over the year.
In December, nonfarm employment for the Homosassa Springs MSA was 33,200, which was unchanged over the year.
Due to annual benchmarking, January’s preliminary jobs report will be released on March 13.
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