Marion unemployment jumps to 6.2%

Connor Fielder of W.W. Gay works on the ceiling near a locker room area at the Florida Aquatic Swimming and Training (FAST) pool complex in this June file photo. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 
The Marion County unemployment rate jumped to 6.2% in June from 5.3% last month but was still lower compared to 9.7% a year ago, according to numbers released by the Department of Economic Opportunity on Friday.

The year-over-year numbers reflect the drag the COVID-19 pandemic has on the economy in 2020.

Locally, the labor force was 146,663 in June compared to 135,711 a year earlier. The number of people with jobs was 137,511 compared to 122,586 employed a year earlier. The number of people unemployed was 9,152 in June compared with 13,125 a year ago, according to the DEO.

“The good news is we know there are businesses out there eager to hire,” he said. “Last month, we had 40 businesses recruiting at our first in-person job fair since the pandemic, next week we’ll holding a Healthcare Job Fair and on July 28, we’re partnering with neighboring workforce regions on an Agriculture Job Fair. No one needs to be out of work in our region if they want a job,” said Rusty Skinner, CEO of CareerSource CLM.

On June 26, the state stopped the $300 federally funded weekly subsidy to those receiving unemployment compensation. Gov. Ron DeSantis urged the end of the subsidies to spur people back to work. The state also recently reinstated the requirement for those unemployed to show evidence they were seeking employment. Florida pays a maximum of $275 per week in unemployment compensation. As more people enter the job market, the unemployment rate can increase. Combined with the seasonal spike in summer jobs, the increase in the unemployment rate is no surprise, according to CareerSource.

But the area continues to see some of the state’s fastest annual job growth including an 8.6% increase in the manufacturing sector. the area also added more than 1,000 jobs in trade, transportation and utilities, and more than 800 jobs in leisure and hospitality, according to a CareerSource press release.

The state’s unemployment rate was 5% in June, up .1% from May. The U.S. unemployment rate was 5.9%.

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