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Levy County and its neighbors, Citrus and Marion counties, saw their unemployment rates drop in August from the month before and a year ago.
The good news came from Workforce Connection on Friday, which also reported that the number of people entering the labor force grew at the same time.
The three county region's unemployment rate was 10.1 percent in August, down 0.5 percent from July and down 2.5 percent from one year ago. The labor force for the three counties was 208,671 people. There were 21,105 jobless people, a drop of 885 over the month and 5,243 fewer than the same time last year.
Levy County's unemployment rate was 9.7 percent, down 0.6 percent over July's rate. Marion County was 10.1 percent, down 0.5 percent over the month, and 10.3 percent in Citrus County, down 0.6 percent. The county's labor force increased by 23 to 16,805, employment is up by 121 jobs to 15,167 and the number of unemployed fell by 98 to 1,638. In August 2011, there were 2,009 jobless.
The state's jobless rate was 9.0 percent in August, down 0.3 percent, and the United States rate was 8.2 percent, down 0.4 percent.
Workforce Connection CEO Rusty Skinner said the August numbers undercut the notion that the lower unemployment rate reflects job seekers giving up looking for work.
“Seeing this type of improvement across all three areas – expansion of the labor force and employment, combined with a drop in the number of unemployed – is a very positive movement,” Skinner said. “While understanding that this is a single month positive across all three, it does provide optimism for our economy and employment.”
Seven major industries gained jobs over the year, led by education and health services; leisure and hospitality; professional and business services; manufacturing; and trade, transportation, and utilities, financial activities, and other services.
Two industries that lost jobs over the year were mining, logging, and construction and government. Information remained unchanged over the year.