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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

September’s unemployment rate drops to 3.4% as region shows strong job gains

In September 2022, the unemployment rate in the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion region decreased slightly to 3.4%, which is down 0.2 percentage points over the month and 1.1 percentage points lower than the region’s rate from a year ago.

Across the three-county region, the labor force in September was 211,633, an increase of 4,201 over the year. During the month, there were 7,128 unemployed residents in the region.

According to preliminary employment data released by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, there were 204,505 residents who were employed across the region, which is an increase of 6,386 compared to the same time last year.

Last month, Levy County continued to hold the lowest unemployment rate in the region at 2.9%, followed by Marion County (3.2%) and Citrus County (4.0%). Marion County’s jobless rate is down 0.4 percentage points compared to August and 1.2 percentage points lower than the rate that was reported in September 2021.

The last time the region saw similar employment numbers for the month of September was in 2006 when the rate was 3.7%, according to CareerSource CLM. At that time, the labor force was 208,404, and there were 200,667 residents working while 7,737 were unemployed.

Rusty Skinner, CareerSource CLM’s chief executive officer, noted that there were over 9,300 more people employed in September, and nearly the same number of unemployed, than in February 2020, just prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If you’ve been waiting for the right time to jump back into the labor force, this is it,” Skinner said. “While all key indicators point in the right direction – expanded labor force, robust increase in jobs, and decrease in the number of unemployed – there continues to be a very high demand for more workforce as area businesses continue to grow.”

During the month of September, non-agricultural employment in the Ocala metropolitan statistical area, which covers all of Marion County, was 113,000, an increase of 2,700 jobs over the year for a 2.4% annual growth rate.

In the Ocala MSA, the industries gaining jobs over the year were leisure and hospitality (+1,200 jobs); education and health services (+700 jobs); trade, transportation, and utilities (+500 jobs); mining, logging, and construction (+400 jobs); and other services (+200 jobs).

The industries losing jobs over the year were manufacturing (-100 jobs); professional and business services (-100 jobs); and government (-100 jobs).

According to the September 2022 report, the leisure and hospitality and mining, logging, and construction industries grew faster in the Ocala MSA than statewide over the year.

The financial activities and information industries in the Ocala MSA were unchanged in the number of jobs last month.

On Thursday, November 10, CareerSource CLM will host its annual “Paychecks for Patriots” job fair as part of a statewide effort to connect Florida’s veterans with employment opportunities. While veterans, military families, and active service members will get priority access, the job fair will also be open to all job seekers.

For more information about job fairs, hiring events, and other candidate and business services, visit the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion website or call 1-800-434-JOBS (5627).