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Unemployment in Levy County drops below 8%

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By The Staff

March brought good news on the job front as the unemployment rate for Levy County dropped to a level not seen since July 2008 — 7.6 percent, according to a press release from Workforce Connection, the county's labor agency. 

In July 2008 with the recession hitting Levy County, the unemployment rate was 7.7 percent and the rate continued to rise until it hit a peak 13 percent in January 2010. Since then the rate has wiggled around gradually dropping to its current level. 

The labor force in the county has also changed — dropping — with the unemployment rates. 

• In July 2008 there were 18,136 county residents in the labor force and 1,290 were looking for work. 

• In January 2010 there were 17,071 in the labor force and 2,215 were looking for jobs. 

• In March there were 16,188 residents in the labor force with 1,235 seeking work. 

Levy County’s labor force  remained virtually unchanged, growing by seven to 16,188 since February, as employment rose by 134 to 14,953 and the number of unemployed dropped by 127 to 1,235. 

In March 2012, the unemployment rate was 9.7 percent and the number of unemployed was 1,589. Two years ago, the jobless rate was 11.5 percent with 1,938 people unemployed.

Workforce Connection, which serves the Citrus, Levy and Marion counties region, reported regional unemployment was 7.8 percent in March, down 0.7 percent over the month and 2.4 percent lower than the same time last year. The unemployment rate for the region is the lowest since June 2008 when it was 7.7 percent. 

Florida’s unemployment rate in March was 7 percent, the lowest since October 2008. The national rate was 7.6 percent in March.

“We are seeing continued positive signs with employment growth from last month in all three counties, certainly in terms of the drops in the number of unemployed and increases in the number of those with jobs,” Rusty Skinner, Workforce Connection’s chief executive officer, said.

“The labor force showed slight expansion in Citrus and Levy counties and remained virtually unchanged in Marion County.

There have also been a number of employers hiring in the area, Skinner said. In March, a total of 481 employers posted 1,583 jobs with Workforce Connection, up from 1,443 jobs in February and a 22 percent increase over the year.