Nearly half of the workers living in Marion County leave the county for employment, with most commuting to Orange, Lake and Alachua counties, according to a new labor shed analysis of workforce and demographic characteristics commissioned by CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion.
At the same time, the daily outflow of workers under age 55 is slowing, with slight declines both as a percentage and in total numbers, while there was little change in the number of workers 55 and older commuting for employment.
The analysis highlights Marion County commuting patterns showing where workers work and where workers live. It was prepared by the Florida Department of Economic Development’s Bureau of Labor Market Statistics using 2015 annual Census data – the latest available. The labor shed report is designed to help economic developers and existing or prospective businesses determine where a labor market draws its commuting workers.
The report’s detailed examination of commuting patterns for Marion County found that there were 107,076 workers living in Marion County and 91,588 workers employed in Marion County. Of those workers who lived in the county, 48,888 or 45.7 percent were employed outside Marion County.
Of the 91,588 people employed in Marion County, 58,188 (63.5 percent) live and work here, while 33,400 (36.5 percent) commute into the county for work.
According to the report, Marion County had a net job flow loss of 15,488 workers – in other words, more workers leave Marion County for work than commute into the county. Marion County had the 47th highest outflow rate among Florida’s 67 counties.
Rusty Skinner, CEO of CareerSource CLM, said that Marion County’s labor shed analysis “reinforces the need to be competitive, in terms of compensation, with similar businesses within a one hour commute.”
Top destinations for Marion County workers employed outside the county are Orange County (5,665 workers), Lake County (5,536 workers) and Alachua County (4,979 workers). Citrus County ranked sixth (2,107 workers) and Levy County was 17th (672 workers).
Among workers leaving the county for jobs, 24 percent (11,750) are 29 or younger, 51.1 percent (24,980) are age 30 to 54, and 24.9 percent (12,158) are 55 or older.
“One of our goals should focus on working with high school graduates and first time job seekers to retain their skills within our communities,” Skinner said. “This includes working with our school districts and the College of Central Florida to develop short term, certificate and degree programs (both Associate and Bachelor) that focus on the skills sets that business needs.”