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Monday, November 21, 2022

Marion County job report shows area moving out of ‘COVID-19 slump’

Marion County’s unemployment rate was reported at 4% for the month of December in 2021.

According to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, which publishes the report a couple weeks after the month is complete, Marion County’s labor force expanded by 628 to 146,284, while the number of those with jobs went up by 922 to 140,453, and the number of unemployed decreased by 294 to 5,831.

Compared to the same time last year, when the jobless rate was 3.8%, the labor force increased by 7,563 and the number of employed grew by 7,023.

In the Ocala metro area, the manufacturing (+7.1%); other services (+11.1%); and mining, logging, and construction (+5.7%) industries grew as fast or faster than statewide figures over the year.

Industries gaining jobs over the year were trade, transportation, and utilities (+900 jobs); leisure and hospitality (+700 jobs); education and health services (+500 jobs); and professional and business services (+100 jobs).

Industries losing jobs over the year were government (-600 jobs) and financial activities (-100 jobs).

Rusty Skinner, CEO of CareerSource CLM, said the expansion of the labor force, combined with an increase in jobs, “indicates our area’s move out of the COVID-19 slump.”

“This long-term growth in employment and labor force participation shows a positive response to the job opportunities of our area businesses,” Skinner said. While the return to the labor force and employment has not yet matched demand in opportunities, he added that, “it represents the steady recovery of our three counties.”

The State of Florida’s not seasonally adjusted jobless rate – a measure that matches the way local rates are calculated – was 3.2%, a decrease of 0.4 percentage point over the month and 1% lower than December 2020.

The preliminary employment summary for January will be released on Monday, March 14.