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The jobless rate in the three-county region served by Workforce Connection may have risen in November, but Levy County's rate was unchanged, staying at 8.8 percent, the same figure as in October.
The rate for the combined Levy, Marion and Citrus counties region was 9.2 percent, up 0.1 percent over October's rate and down 2.4 percent from one year ago.
In November, Levy County’s labor force fell by 267 since October to 16,866, employment dropped by 246 jobs to 15,381 and the number of unemployed declined by 21 to 1,485. Over the year, the labor force has remained virtually the same, the number of employed increased by 233 and the number of unemployed dropped by 348.
Marion County's jobless rate was 9.2 percent, up 0.1 percent over the month; while it was 9.2 percent in Citrus County, unchanged since October.
Workforce Connection CEO Rusty Skinner said that the slight fluctuation over the month is “puzzling” – since the influx of seasonal hires was expected to have a greater impact – but not alarming.
“To gauge how we’re doing, you have to look at where we were a year ago,” Skinner said.
“And we’re definitely seeing some positive movement.” Skinner noted that while the labor force is about the same size as it was in November 2011, there are 4,711 more people with jobs and 5,016 fewer unemployed.
Skinner also pointed out that last month, 545 employers posted 1,602 jobs with Workforce Connection, representing a 57.5-percent increase in employers over the year and a 98-percent spike in job postings. At the same time, Workforce Connection placed 1,161 unemployed in jobs in November.
Since January, Workforce Connection has placed 9,011 in jobs.
According to Rebecca Rust, DEO’s chief economist said the Workforce Connection region is not alone as all 67 counties had declines in unemployment rate over the year, while 25 counties experienced similar slight increases, 33 counties dropped over the month, and nine remained flat.
“Because movements were very small over the month, that’s why we emphasize that you talk about movement over the year,” Rust said.
Six major industries gained jobs over the year, led by education and health services, leisure and hospitality and trade, transportation and utilities with an increase of 500 jobs each; manufacturing, professional and business services and other services (+100 each).
Government was the only industry that lost jobs over the year (-100 jobs). Mining, logging and construction, information and financial activities remained unchanged over the year.
DEO’s Rust said that among positive signs statewide is that there continues to be a drop in number of job losers – those laid off – from 54 percent to 53.6 percent as well as an increase in the number of new job entrants, up from 10.7 to 11.1 percent and job re-entrants from 27.1 to 27.6 percent.
Rust cited a number of additional signs of improvement in Florida’s economic conditions, including:
• Florida’s unemployment rate was down 2.0 percentage points from the November
2011 rate of 10.1 percent. It was the 24th consecutive month of over-the-year declines
in Florida’s unemployment rate.
• The current unemployment rate was down 3.3 percentage points from the last
recession peak rate of 11.4 percent reached in January and February 2010 and was
the lowest rate since November 2008.
• Florida’s annual job growth rate has been positive for the past 28 months. Prior to
this, the state had been losing jobs for three years.
• Florida’s online job ads were up 12.4 percent over the year.
• Initial claims for Reemployment Assistance were down 7.6 percent from a year ago.
• Florida housing starts were up 60.2 percent over the year, reaching a level of 4,270 in
• An estimated 21.9 million visitors came to Florida in the third quarter of 2012, an
increase of 3.5 percent over the same period in 2011. Overseas visitors were up 5.5
percent in 2012 Q3 compared to 2011 Q3.
• Taxable sales were $24.6 billion in September (preliminary), an increase of 5.6
percent over the year.
• November tax revenue (seasonally adjusted) was up 5.9 percent compared to a year
ago. This marked the 32nd straight month of annual increases.