The unemployment rate in the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion region was 12.2 percent in May, down 0.7 percentage point over the month, 8.2 percentage point higher than the region’s rate a year ago, and 2.1 percentage point lower than the state rate of 14.3 percent. There were 23,643 unemployed in the region, 250 fewer than in April and 15,653 more than May 2019 when the jobless rate was 4.0 percent.
The region’s labor force was 194,388, an increase of 4,781 since April, and a loss of 7,049 over the year. There were 170,745 employed, representing a one-month increase of 5,036 and a drop of 22,702 compared to May 2019.
Nonfarm employment in the Ocala/Marion County metropolitan statistical area was 102,600, an increase of 2,200 jobs over the month, and a 3.8 percent decrease of 4,100 jobs over the year. Mining, logging, and construction continued to be the only industry sector in the Ocala MSA that gained jobs over the year. At 6.0 percent, adding 500 jobs, it also grew faster in the metro area than statewide.
While the trade, transportation, and utility sector lost a net 300 jobs over the year due to a 4.8 percent drop of 800 jobs in retail trade, wholesale trade grew by 200 jobs for a 4.9 percent job growth rate and transportation, warehousing, and utilities added 300 jobs for a growth rate of 8.1 percent.
According to the preliminary jobs report for May released by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Levy County had the lowest jobless rate in the region at 9.9 percent, down 0.7 percentage point over the month; Marion County followed at 11.7 percent, a 0.3 percentage point drop; and Citrus County’s rate was 13.3 percent, down 0.6 percent point from April. Florida’s not seasonally adjusted jobless rate – a measure that matches the way local rates are calculated – was 14.3 percent, up one percent over the month, and an increase of 11.3 percent compared to May 2019. The nation’s jobless rate was 13.0 percent, down from 14.4 percent in April and up 10.3 percent over the year.
Kathleen Woodring, executive vice president for CareerSource CLM, said, “It is heartening to see the gains made over the month, with the expansion of the labor force driven by job growth that outpaced increases in unemployment. We may still be a long way from where we were a year ago, but I don’t think anyone reasonably expected our region to rebound immediately and completely. Still, this report confirms we are heading in the right direction.”
Statewide, 32 counties including Citrus, Levy, and Marion saw drops in unemployment, four were unchanged and 31 experienced increases, topped by Osceola County at 31.1 percent.
Woodring said that CareerSource CLM continues to provide fee-free virtual assistance to businesses and job seekers and also offers limited in-person services by appointment only at the region’s career centers.
“We are doing what we can to meet our region’s needs while ensuring customers and staff remain safe,” Woodring said, adding as an example that CareerSource CLM has partnered with K-Country, Wind-FM, and TV20 to host a virtual job fair via Zoom on June 24. In addition, there are currently 127 businesses from Amazon to Winco listed on careersourceclm.com/hiring-now/.
“Other initiatives in full force right now include a Dislocated Worker Grant program that matches those laid off due to COVID-19 with jobs at area nonprofits helping those affected by the pandemic,” Woodring said. “We’re also working with Lockheed Martin on their new apprenticeship program, we continue to host hiring events for local businesses, we’ve also started back up with our Phoenix Rising YouthBuild programs in Marion and Citrus counties and, even though we don’t administer the state’s Reemployment Assistance program, we do work with those who’ve had difficulties with their claims.”
Here’s a breakdown of each county’s jobs numbers for May:
Citrus County’s labor force grew by 912 over the month to 46,352, the number of employed increased by 1,029 to 39,714 and the number of unemployed dropped by 117 to 6,643. Compared to May 2019, when the jobless rate was 4.7 percent, the labor force has contracted by 1,088, the number of employed has dropped by 5,490 and the number of unemployed increased by 4,402.
Levy County’s labor force expanded by 224 to 15,385, the number of those with jobs rose by 299 to 13,859 and the number of unemployed fell by 75 to 1,529. That’s an over-the-year drop of 1,338 in the labor force, 2,251 fewer working, and 913 more unemployed compared to when the rate was 3.7 percent.
Marion County’s labor force increased by 3,645 to 132,646, the number of those with jobs increased by 3,708 to 117,172 and the number of unemployed dropped by 63 to 15,474. That’s 4,673 fewer than the size of the labor force a year ago, a drop of 14,961 in the number of those with jobs, and an increase of 10,338 in the number of unemployed compared to May 2019 when the jobless rate was 3.7 percent.
In May, Citrus County dropped from holding the fourth highest unemployment rate in the state to the 11th highest among all 67 counties; Marion County was 27th highest tied with Duval County, and Levy County dropped from 36th to 40th highest.
Among the metro areas, the Homosassa Springs/Citrus County MSA slipped from the second-highest rate to the fifth and the Ocala MSA held the 16th highest rate. The Villages, which includes a portion of Marion County, had the state’s 14th highest jobless rate among metros.
Other than mining, logging, and construction, no industry sectors grew in the Ocala MSA. Those losing jobs over the year were education and health services (-900 jobs); other services (-900 jobs); professional and business services (-800 jobs); leisure and hospitality (-700 jobs); manufacturing (-500 jobs); trade, transportation, and utilities (-300 jobs); information (-200 jobs); financial activities (-200 jobs); and government (-100 jobs).
In May, nonfarm employment in the Homosassa Springs MSA was 31,800, an increase of 1,500 jobs over the month, and a decrease of 1,700 jobs (-5.1 percent) over the year.
The region’s preliminary employment summary for June will be released on July 17.