Restaurant help secondary

Many restaurants and stores are advertising the need for additional workers on signs in front of their businesses.

Citrus County’s unemployment rate shot up 1.1 percentage points in June to 7.2%, up from 6.1% a month earlier.

Citrus was not alone. 

All 67 counties in Florida saw rates rise in June, according to statistics released Friday from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (FDEO).

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What happened?

Rusty Skinner, CEO of CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion, said it has been “a strange year and there is a strong possibility that we’re seeing some traditional summer slump."

"But we also may be seeing the first effects of the drive to the labor force due to the reduction of the $300-a-week federal unemployment payments,” Skinner added.

“The good news is we know there are businesses out there eager to hire,” Skinner said.

Here are the highlights:

• There were 49,413 Citrus Countians in the labor force in June, 344 more than the 49,069 the month before.

• The number of residents employed decreased from 46,071 in May to 45,842 in June, a decrease of 229 people.

• The number of people unemployed rose from 2,998 to 3,571, a 573 increase.

Compared to June 2020, when the unemployment rate was 11.1%, the labor force grew by 3,157, there were 4,739 more employed and 1,582 fewer unemployed. 

Citrus County was tied with Osceola and Sumter counties for the fourth worst jobless rate in the state.

Hendry County in south Florida had the highest unemployment rate at 7.6% and Monroe County in the Florida Keys had the lowest at 3.5%.

Florida’s unemployment rate in June was 5.7%, up from 5.0% in May. The national rate was 6.1% in June, up from 5.5%.

Florida continues to see new unemployment claims roll in at pre-pandemic levels, even as leisure and tourism-related businesses maintain they are struggling to attract workers.

Meanwhile, the American Hotel & Lodging Association on Wednesday launched a “hotels are hiring” ad campaign.

“With leisure travel resuming, the hotel industry needs to fill thousands of open positions to meet an uptick in consumer travel demand,” the association stated in a news release.

“To entice more workers to join the industry, hotels are offering employees more competitive pay, flexible scheduling, and additional benefits, including paid time off, health care benefits, retirement savings and more,” the association said.

Contact Chronicle reporter Michael D. Bates at 352-563-3205 or mbates@chronicleonline.com. To see more of his stories, visit  tinyurl.com/y6kb23vv.