Workforce expansion, summer slump create jobless rate hike

Ocala MSA leads state in fastest manufacturing job growth rate

OCALA, Fla. (July 16, 2021) –The unemployment rate in the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion region rose nearly a percentage point in June to 6.4 percent – driven in part by the seasonal summer spike, but also perhaps an indication that more people are looking for work as federal pandemic payments end.

Across the three-county region, the labor force was 213,663, down 1,660 compared to May but up 15,745 over the year for an annual growth rate of 8.0 percent.

The number of those with jobs fell by 419 over the month to 199,992 but grew by 21,657 compared to June 2020. The number of unemployed increased by 2,149 since May to 13,741, which is a decrease of 5,842 than the number out of work a year ago. The June unemployment rate was 3.5 percentage points lower than the region’s year ago rate of 9.9 percent.

According to today’s release of preliminary employment numbers by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Levy County continued to hold the lowest jobless rate in the region at 5.8 percent, up 1.0 percent over the month; Marion County followed with a rate of 6.2 percent, an increase of 0.9 percentage point; and Citrus County’s rate was 7.2 percent, up 1.1 percentage point. Florida’s not seasonally adjusted jobless rate – a measure that matches the way local rates are calculated – was 5.7 percent, an increase of 0.7 percentage point over the month and 6.0 percent lower than June 2020.

The nonagricultural employment in the Ocala metropolitan statistical area, which covers all of Marion County, was 106,900 in June, an increase of 3,800 jobs over the year for a 3.7 percent annual growth rate.

The Ocala MSA had the fastest annual job growth rate compared to all the metro areas in the state in manufacturing at 8.6 percent.

In the Homosassa Springs MSA, which includes all of Citrus County, there were 32,500 nonfarm jobs, an increase of 900 jobs over the year for an annual growth rate of 2.8 percent

Rusty Skinner, CEO of CareerSource CLM, said it has been “a strange year and there is a strong possibility that we’re seeing some traditional summer slump but we also may be seeing the first effects of the drive to the labor force due to the reduction of the $300 a week federal unemployment payments.”

Skinner added that is reflected statewide, noting that among Florida’s 67 counties, 66 saw unemployment rates rise in June while one rate was unchanged.

“The good news is we know there are businesses out there eager to hire,” he said. “Last month, we had 40 businesses recruiting at our first in-person job fair since the pandemic, next week we’ll holding a Healthcare Job Fair and on July 28, we’re partnering with neighboring workforce regions on an Agriculture Job Fair. No one needs to be out of work in our region if they want a job.”

Here is a breakdown of the May jobs numbers for each county:

Citrus County’s labor force in June expanded by 344 to 49,413, the number of employed fell by 229 to 45,842, and the number of unemployed rose by 573 to 3,571. Compared to June 2020 when the unemployment rate was 11.1 percent, the labor force grew by 3,157, there were 4,739 more employed and 1,582 fewer unemployed.

Levy County’s labor force contracted by 49 over the month to 17,587, the number of those with jobs decreased by 217 to 16,569, and the number of jobless increased by 168 to 1,018. Over the year, when the jobless rate was 8.2 percent, those numbers represent 1,636 more in the labor force, an increase of 1,923 with jobs, and a decrease of 287 unemployed.

Marion County’s labor force expanded by 1.365 to 146,663, the number of those with jobs dropped by 43 to 137,511, and the number of unemployed rose by 1,408 to 9,152. Compared to the same time last year, when the jobless rate was 9.7 percent, the labor force grew by 10,952, the number of employed increased by 14,925 and the number of unemployed dropped by 3,973.

In addition to manufacturing in the Ocala MSA, trade, transportation and utilities (+3.9 percent) and government (+1.5 percent) industries grew faster in the metro area than statewide over the year.

Industries gaining jobs over the year were trade, transportation, and utilities (+1,000 jobs); leisure and hospitality (+800 jobs); manufacturing (+800 jobs); professional and business services (+400 jobs); education and health services (+300 jobs); government (+200 jobs); mining, logging, and construction (+200 jobs); and other services (+100 jobs).

The information and financial activities industries were unchanged over the year, while no industry sectors reported job losses.

Citrus County tied with Osceola and Sumter counties with the fourth highest jobless rate; Marion County tied with Gadsden County with the 13th highest rate; and Levy County tied with Calhoun and Volusia counties with the 22nd highest.

Among the states metro areas, the Homosassa Springs MSA tied with The Villages, which includes a portion of Marion County, with the second highest rate and the Ocala MSA was sixth. stayed at the seventh highest rate.

The region’s preliminary employment summary for July will be released on Friday, July 20.