Summer slump hits Levy workers; unemployment inches up to 8.3%

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By The Staff

It was not unexpected, but today's jobless report shows unemployment in Levy County inched up to 8.3 percent — up half a point — in the month of June. 

“We’ve seen this trend historically for the month of June in good times and in bad,” Workforce Connection CEO Rusty Skinner said, pointing to the same pattern every year not only since 2010 but more than a decade ago when the Levy, Citrus-Marion counties regional unemployment was 3.7 percent.

Rates start climbing in June but by September or October return to or drop below the pre-slump rate.

“I was hoping we might not see that, but these numbers are not seasonally adjusted and school districts and other employers shut down over the summer months,” he said. “For a number of months, we’ve showed positive movement, this is one of those months we’ve seen some retrenchment. What happens in September will be key for the long term.” 

Workforce Connection, the local career agency, reported the regional jobless rate was 8.2 percent in June, up 0.4 percent from May. There were 17,134 unemployed out of a labor force of 208,401. That rate is down 2.0 percentage points compared to June 2012.

At the same time, the Ocala/Marion county metropolitan statistical area posted a 2.5 percent job growth rate, the second highest in the state, adding 2,300 new nonagricultural jobs. It led the state with the highest growth rate in financial activities and tied with the Gainesville metro area with the highest rate in education and health services employment.

The June rates, released by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, were 8.2 percent for Marion County, an increase of 0.4 percent over the month and 8.3 percent for Citrus County, up 0.3 percentage points. Local rates are not seasonally adjusted. Florida’s unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted, is 7.1 percent and the national rate is 7.6 percent.

Levy County's labor force decreased by 135 to 16,248, those with jobs dropped by 215 to 14,893 and the number of unemployed increased by 80 to 1,355 which is down 286 over the year when the unemployment rate was 10.1 percent.

Workforce Connection's Levy County office is at 109 N.W. 3rd Ave., in Chiefland and can be contected by calling 352-493-6813.