Marion, state jobless rates plunge, signaling ‘rebounding economy’

Ocala/Marion County’s unemployment rate went in the right direction last month – down.

According to a recent report by CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion, or CLM, the state’s regional employment agency, Marion County’s jobless rate in August was 6.3 percent, down three full percentage points from July.

The workforce in the Ocala Metropolitan Statistical Area, which covers all of Marion County, grew by 1.4 percent from July to August. That made the Ocala MSA the third fastest-growing metro area in the state.

Meanwhile, Florida’s statewide unemployment rate was 7.7 percent, down from 11.6 percent in July.

Rusty Skinner, chief executive officer for CareerSource CLM, said in a statement that the report shows “positive signs of a rebounding economy.”

Marion County’s labor pool added 1,762 people in August, for a total of 139,263. The number of county residents with jobs increased by 5,789 to 130,482, while the number of unemployed fell by 4,027 to 8,781.

“These are very positive signs for our area’s workforce,” Skinner noted. “Businesses are either filling vacancies through rehiring or hiring new employees. While we still have too many residents that are without jobs, they should be encouraged by these statistics.”

According to CareerSource CLM, non-farm employment in Marion County was 106,400, with significant gains in the following sectors:

Compared to all metro areas in Florida, the Ocala MSA boasted both the fastest annual job growth rate, 3.8 percent, and the highest annual job growth, by adding 500 jobs in August, in the leisure and hospitality industry.

Meanwhile, the Ocala MSA tied for the second highest annual job growth among metro areas in trade, transportation and utilities, adding 300 jobs. That also translated to the third highest job-growth rate, 1.2 percent, within that group.

Finally, the Ocala MSA recorded the third fastest annual job-growth rate in mining, logging and construction at 7.0 percent, adding 600 jobs.

CareerSource CLM noted that all 67 counties saw “significant” declines in their respective jobless rates.

Marion County tied with Sarasota County for the 39th lowest unemployment rate in the state. Comparatively, Lafayette County was lowest in the state, at 3.4 percent, while the highest rate was found in Osceola County, 15.1 percent.

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