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There's some good in bad news on jobs

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Unemployment up, so's number of people working

By The Staff

Levy County's unemployment rate inched up 0.3 percent to 8.6 percent in July — no surprise given that local unemployment rises in the summer months. But what was encouraging in that news of the second month of increasing unemployment is that there are more people in the county's labor force than the previous months.

Levy County's labor force increased by 211 to 16,464 in July. Those with jobs rose by 151 to 15,039 and the number of unemployed increased by 60 to 1,425 which is down 270 over the year when the unemployment rate was 10.3 percent.

Rusty Skinner, CEO of the region's career service Workforce Connection, said that the expected seasonal increase in the unemployment rate was offset by strong gains in the labor force and employment across Citrus, Levy and Marion counties.

 “This report shows positive signs. When you see growth in the labor force and employment in all three counties, that confirms what we’ve been seeing: employers are hiring,” Skinner said, adding that the number of unemployed increased by just 292 compared to 838 more people with jobs.

“Right now we’re seeing a lot of hiring,” Skinner said, adding that the region’s daily placement rate is among the highest in the state. He added that next week Workforce Connection is holding three job fairs for Burlington Coat Factory, Caregiver Services and Custom Window Systems; combined, the companies plan to hire up to 250 full- and part-time employees.

Skinner also noted that the “slight uptick in unemployment could be caused by a number of factors. It could be college students back home for the summer added to the mix, it could be people who had been discouraged now encouraged by improvements returning to the labor force.”

Workforce Connection’s jobless rate in the three counties it serves — Citrus, Levy and Marion — was 8.3 percent in July, up just 0.1 percent over June. There were 17,490 unemployed out of a significantly expanded labor force of 209,835. That rate is down 2.1 percentage points compared to July 2012.

The July 2013 unemployment rates were released Friday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

Marion county's jobless rate in July was 8.3 percent, an increase of 0.1 percent over the month and 8.4 percent for Citrus County, also up 0.1 percentage points.

Florida’s unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted, is 7.1 percent and not seasonally adjusted rate is 7.4 percent. The national rate is 7.4 percent.

Statewide, the percentage of job leavers – those who voluntarily leave jobs encouraged to find new jobs – is up 0.1 percentage points to 8.6 percent and those re-entering the labor force is up 0.5 percentage points to 24.9 percent.

Skinner added that seasonal fluctuations in education support personnel, agriculture and tourism may also contribute to the increase in unemployment rate. However, regional unemployment rates tracked back to 1991 show that, in all but a few instances regardless of the state of the economy, unemployment rates return to or drop below the pre-summer spike levels by September or October, which reflect employment in August and September.