The unemployment rate in Marion County saw a slight decrease in August over the previous month and year.
The unemployment rate decreased to 5.4% in August from 5.5% in July, according to the monthly jobs report released by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity on Friday.
The rate is nearly 30% lower than last year’s rate of 7.2%.
The nonagricultural employment in the Ocala metropolitan statistical area, which covers all of Marion County, was 108,300 in July, an increase of 4,000 jobs over the year for a 3.8 percent annual growth rate.
According to the report, Ocala Metropolitan Statistical Area had the second fastest manufacturing job growth rate compared to all the metro areas in the state at 8.5%.
“The good news in today’s release is the long-term growth and rebounding of the labor market in our three-county area,” says Rusty Skinner, CEO of CareerSource CLM. “Over the past year, each county has seen significant growth in their labor force and employment, while also seeing the decline in the number of unemployed citizens.”
Skinner said that August is typically a month when the jobs report reflects fluctuations across all three counties.
“Marion County, while remaining strong, showed dips in labor force and employed, while also showing reductions in the number of unemployed,” he said. “These variations are generally seen as a seasonal downward trend.”
Marion County’s labor force decreased by 536 to 146,753, the number of those with jobs decreased by 315 to 138,868, and the number of unemployed dropped by 221 to 7,885.
Compared to the same time last year, when the jobless rate was 7.1 percent, the labor force grew by 10,014, the number of employed increased by 11,849 and the number of unemployed dropped by 1,835.
Among Florida’s 67 counties, Marion County’s unemployment rate ranked 13th highest. The Ocala MSA held the sixth highest unemployment rate among the state’s 24 metropolitan areas.
In the Ocala MSA, manufacturing increased by 800 new jobs for an 8.5 percent annual growth rate, while mining, logging, and construction increased by 300 jobs for a 3.5 percent annual growth rate; trade, transportation, and utilities were up 800 jobs for a growth rate increase of 3.1 percent; and government went up 100 jobs, or 0.7 percent. All of those industries, as well as a few others, grew faster in the Ocala MSA than they did across the state over the year.