Don’t let Citrus County’s third worst unemployment rate in the state fool you.
At 4.3 percent, last month's rate declined again, marking the fourth consecutive month it has dropped, according to Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (FDEO) figures released Friday.
In March, the rate was 4.9 percent and one year ago it was 4.8.
Even more encouraging: the number of unemployed workers dropped by 266 to 2.073 from March to April. And compared to one year ago this month, the number of unemployed workers decreased by 235.
Neighboring counties of Marion and Levy saw a similar decrease in unemployed people.
The state average in April was 2.9 percent and the national rate was 3.3.
“It’s good that the number of unemployed has dropped for each county, that shows we continue to move in the right direction,” said Kathleen Woodring, executive vice president of CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion.
County Commissioner Jimmie T. Smith said that while 4.3 percent is great and considered “full employment,” there is still work to be done.
“This is good news but it should not distract us on the need to diversify our workforce and bring in manufacturing jobs so once a recession hits it will have less of an impact on the economy,” he said.
Jobs in manufacturing and the medical field have higher wages and tend to be more recession-proof and will sustain the local economy. Service-related jobs tend to not do well during tough economic times, he said.
Other takeaways from the FDEO report:
- Citrus County’s labor force dropped by 367 workers, to 47,694, from March to April.
- The number of employed workers in the county dropped by 101 to 45,621 during that same period, the FDEO said.
- Gulf County had the state’s highest unemployment rate at 4.7 percent. Sumter County had the second highest at 4.4.
- Monroe County - which typically has the state’s lowest unemployment rate - kept its record intact in April, weighing in at 2.0 percent.