Gov. Rick Scott delivered good news about the region’s unemployment rate and area job growth Friday during a visit to Ocala’s downtown square.
Joined by Cissy Proctor, executive director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Scott and numerous dignitaries and elected officials were on hand for the ground breaking of Ocala hotelier Danny Gaekwad’s new Hilton Garden Inn on the downtown square.
The unemployment rate in the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion region was 4.7 percent in February, a drop of 0.5 percentage points over the month and 0.9 percent lower than the same time last year. Out of an expanded labor force of 199,119, there were 9,448 unemployed, a decrease of 813 over the month and 1,631 fewer than February 2017.
The February unemployment rates were 5.0 percent for Citrus County, down 0.5 percentage point over the month; 4.0 percent for Levy County, down 0.5 percent; and 4.6 percent for Marion County, down 0.4 percent. Florida’s not seasonally adjusted jobless rate – a measure that matches the way local rates are calculated – was 3.8 percent, a decrease of 0.3 percent.
“We have completely changed this state …,” Scott said. “Business people are changing their communities and Danny is an example.”
Scott said that in the four years prior to his taking office, the state had lost 832,000 jobs; since then, Florida has added nearly 1.5 million jobs including 25,000 in February alone.