Jobless rate takes a cool dip in July

OCALA, Fla. (Aug. 16 2019) – The jobless rate for the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion region took an unseasonal dip in July, albeit a slight one, dropping 0.1 percentage point to 4.3 percent.

There were 8,824 unemployed in the region, a decrease of 248 over the month and 679 fewer than the same time last year, when the jobless rate was 4.7 percent.

According to the preliminary employment data released today of employment data by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the region’s labor force in July was 204,346, down 316 since June but up 3,796 or 1.9 percent over the year. There were 195,522 employed in the region, just 68 fewer than the previous month but an increase of 4,475 with jobs compared to July 2018.

Levy County continued to hold the lowest unemployment rate at 4.0 percent, down 0.1 percentage point over the month; Marion County’s jobless rate was 4.1 percent, also down 0.1 percentage point; and Citrus County’s rate held at 5.2 percent.

Florida’s not seasonally adjusted rate – a rate that matches how the region’s numbers are measured – remained at 3.5 percent which was 0.3 percentage point lower than July 2018.

July unemployment climbed over June rates in 2014, 2015 and 2016, and held steady in 2017 and 2018.

Rusty Skinner, CareerSource CLM’s CEO, said “this is the first time in five years we’ve seen a regional drop in the jobless rate when we’re used to seeing a seasonal spike, typically peaking in July.”

“While Citrus and Levy counties show a shrinkage in both labor force size and the number of people employed compared to June 2019, both show expansion in both areas over one year ago,” Skinner said. “While this could be characterized as a normal summer fluctuation, the growth from over a year ago indicates a positive for both counties. Marion County continues to have strong growth in both areas ad shows a solid growth over the past year.”

Skinner added that “as with all labor market data, trending is more important than individual month-to-month comparisons and this has good news for our counties.”

Here’s how the employment numbers looked for each county in the region:

Citrus County’s labor force contracted by 873 to 47,781, the number of employed fell by 829 to 45,314 while the number of unemployed dropped by 44 to 2,467. Over the year, when the jobless rate was 5.5 percent, the labor force grew by 555, the number of employed rose by 691 and the number of unemployed fell by 136.

Levy County’s labor force contracted by 58 to 16,845, the number of those with jobs fell by 27 to 16,175 while the number of unemployed decreased by 31 to 670. Over the year the labor force expanded by 236, there were 252 more employed and 16 fewer unemployed; at the time the rate was 4.1 percent.

Marion County’s labor force grew by 615 to 139,720, the number of those with jobs increased by 788 to 134,033 and the number of unemployed fell by 173 to 5,687. Compared to July 2018, when the jobless rate was 4.5 percent, the labor force has expanded by 3,005, the number of employed has increased by 3,532 and the number of unemployed has dropped by 527.

Fifteen counties experienced a rate increase over the month, 26 counties saw rates drop and rates remained the same in 26 counties. Over the year, rates increased in seven counties, fell in 56 and were unchanged in four.

Among Florida’s 67 counties, Citrus County held the third highest rate along with Highlands County; Marion County dropped from 13th highest to 17th, tied with Okeechobee and Polk counties; and Levy County fell from 16th to 20th highest, tied with DeSoto, Flagler, Holmes and Jackson counties. The lowest unemployment rate in the state was Monroe County at 2.3 percent.

The Homosassa Springs metropolitan statistical area, which includes all of Citrus County, tied with Sebring for the highest rate among Florida’s 24 metro areas, while the Ocala MSA, which covers all of Marion County, tied with the Lakeland-Winter Haven metro to hold the fifth highest rate.

Nonfarm employment for the Ocala MSA was 106,700, an increase of 3,700 jobs (+3.6 percent) over the year.

The Ocala MSA had the second fastest annual job growth rate compared to all metro areas in education and health services at 6.4 percent (+1,2000 new jobs for a total of 19,900 jobs).

Other industries that grew faster in the Ocala metro area than statewide over the year were: mining, logging and construction at 9.1 percent (+700 new jobs for a total of 8,400 jobs); manufacturing at 5.9 percent (+500 jobs for a total of 9,000 jobs); leisure and hospitality at 1.7 percent (+500 jobs); government at 2.2 percent (+300 jobs); and trade, transportation and utilities at 1.2 percent (+400 jobs).

Professional and business services also gained jobs over the year at 2.1 percent (200 new jobs).

The information industry lost 100 jobs over the year, while the financial activities and other industries were unchanged.

In July 2019, nonagricultural employment in the Homosassa Springs MSA was 32,900, an increase of 700 new jobs over the year (+2.2 percent).

The region’s preliminary job numbers for August will be released on Friday, Sept. 20.

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