Marion unemployment 5.5% in March

Matt Lowery, left, and Hank Pearson of Ocala Electric Utility Services install one of the painted steel sculptures by artist Adam Walls during the installation of Chatter Bugs and Whisper Tubes on the MLK First Responder campus on Northwest Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Ocala, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020. Walls, of Hope Mills, N.C., created the interactive steel-fabricated seating elements that are themed for community, partnership and communication. The artwork was installed through the City of Ocala Cultural Arts and Sciences Division in collaboration with the development of the MLK First Responder Campus. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2020.

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Posted April 16, 2021 | By Ocala Gazette Staff

Ocala Electric Utility workers Matt Lowery, left, and Hank Pearson install a sculpture at the MLK First Responder campus on Northwest Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in this September file photo. The utility industry was one of the local industry segments that showed strength in the latest job report.  [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette]

The Marion County unemployment rate was 5.5% in March compared to 6.2% a year ago, according to numbers released by the Department of Economic Opportunity on Friday.

The unemployment rate increased month-over-month from an adjusted 5.2% in February.

The year-over-year numbers include the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last March.

Locally, the labor force was 142,923 in March compared to 143,537 a year earlier. The number of people with jobs was 135,116 lower than the 135,583 employed a year earlier. The number of people unemployed was 7,807 in March compared with 8,954 a year ago, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

But the area continues to see the state’s fastest annual job growth in manufacturing, with 400 new jobs added totaling 9,800, according to a press release by CareerSource CLM.

The Ocala metro area also was tied for the second-highest annual job growth in trade, transportation, and utility jobs, with 500 new jobs added totaling 26,500.

Industries that lost jobs over the year include leisure and hospitality (-1,300 jobs), education and health services (-600 jobs) and government (-500 jobs), according to CareerSource.

The state’s unemployment rate was 4.7% in March, unchanged from February. The U.S. unemployment rate was 6%.


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