OCALA (Oct. 19, 2018) – The unemployment rate in the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion region was 3.7 percent in September, down a full percentage point over the month and 1.1 percent lower than the same time last year.

The labor force was 202,042, a bump of 1,707 over the month and 795 more over the year. The number of those with jobs increased by 3,603 over the month to 194,554 which is 2,917 more than September 2017.  The number of unemployed dropped by 1,896 since August to 7,488, a decrease of 2,122 over the year.

According to today’s release of the September employment summary by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Levy County continues to hold the lowest jobless rate in the region at 3.2 percent, down from the August rate of 4.1 percent; Marion County’s rate is 3.6 percent, a 0.9 percent drop over the month; and Citrus County’s rate fell from 5.4 percent to 4.3 percent.

To put that in context, the last time the region’s unemployment rates were that low, the average price of a movie ticket was $6.88, admission to Disney World was $71, gas cost $2.85 a gallon and The Departed struck box office gold. That was in April and May 2007 for Marion and Citrus counties and May 2006 for Levy County.

Florida’s not seasonally adjusted jobless rate – a measure that matches the way local rates are calculated – is 3.0 percent, a decrease of 0.8 percentage point over the month and down from 4.1 percent a year ago.

CareerSource CLM’s CEO Rusty Skinner said this month’s report shows positive growth in both labor force and employment for all three counties.

“These are important metrics considering the tightness of the labor market,” he said. “It shows more entering the labor force, providing additional talent for our employers and shows that this increase in person searching for jobs is being absorbed by the labor market.

“Overall, when compared to last year this time, we show combined growth in both metrics as well. This represents a positive sign that our labor market is responding to an improved economy.”

Nonfarm employment in September for the Ocala/Marion County metropolitan statistical area was 105,000, an increase of 4,700 jobs over the year for a job growth rate of 4.7 percent.

The Homosassa Springs MSA’s nonfarm employment was 33,900, an increase of 1,300 new jobs in nonfarm employment over the month for a 4.0-percent job growth rate.

The Ocala MSA had the second fastest annual job growth rate compared to all other metro areas in the state in education and health services, at 6.6 percent – that’s after six consecutive months of the fastest growth in education and health services.

Over the year, the Homosassa Springs metro continued to post the fastest job growth rate compared to all metros in government at 6.8 percent.

Marion County’s labor force increased by 840 to 136,261, the number of those with jobs rose by 2,082 to 131,408 and the number of unemployed fell by 1,242 to 4,853. In September 2017, when the rate was 4.7 percent, there were 1,444 more unemployed and 2,365 fewer employed.

Citrus County’s labor force grew by 562 to 48,624, the number of employed rose by 1,085 to 46,541 while the number of unemployed fell by 523 to 2,083. Compared to September 2017, when the jobless rate was 5.4 percent, that’s an increase of 633 employed and a decrease of 533 unemployed.

Levy County’s labor force expanded by 305 to 17,157, the number of those with jobs increased by 436 to 16,605, and the number of unemployed decreased by 131 to 552. That’s an over-the-year drop of 145 unemployed when the rate was 4.0 percent.

According to the employment data for September, unemployment rates fell in all 67 counties. The county with the highest unemployment rate in the state was Hendry County at 6.6 percent. Citrus County tied with Sumter County for the third highest rate, Marion County tied with Miami-Dade County to claim the 12th highest rate at 3.6 percent – the same as the national rate – and Levy County tied with five other counties with the 23rd highest rate.

Among the metro areas, the Homosassa Springs/Citrus County MSA tied with The Villages for the highest rate and the Ocala MSA continued to hold the fifth highest rate.

The Ocala MSA’s nonfarm employment of 105,000 included strong job growth in most industry sectors.

In addition to education and health services, which grew by 6.6 percent over the year adding 1,200 new jobs, the following grew faster in the metro area than statewide over the year: manufacturing, 800 new jobs for a 9.8 percent job growth rate; leisure and hospitality, +1,100 jobs for a 9.1 percent growth rate; and professional and business services, +800 jobs for a 9.0 percent growth rate.

Other industries gaining jobs over the year were trade, transportation and utilities (+600 jobs); and mining, logging and construction (+200 jobs).

The information, financial activities, other services and government industries were unchanged over the year.

The region’s employment summary for October will be released on Friday, Nov. 16.

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