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Please contact Jannet Walsh, Community Relations/Communications Manager at Workforce Connection, for additional information at 352-873-7939 ext. 1234 or e-mail jwalsh@clmworkforce.com.

Unemployment Rates Up in Counties, Region, State and Nation

Today’s release of unemployment data for Citrus, Levy and Marion Counties from the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation (AWI) indicated increased unemployment rates in the three counties, region, state and nation for January 2010. Part of the increase can be attributed to adjustments that are made every March by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics and AWI using revised historical data.

Workforce Connection’s Region, including Citrus, Levy and Marion Counties, posted a 15.1 percent unemployment rate, up one percent from last month, the highest in a series since 1990, according to Rebecca Rust, AWI's chief economist during today’s conference call. The State of Florida’s rate inched up from 11.7 percent to 11.9 percent in January 2010, the same rate as of May 1975 and highest in the recorded series. The nation’s current unemployment rate is 10.6 percent for January 2010, up from 9.7 percent in December 2009. All current unemployment rates for local, state and nation include statistical revisions.

Marion County posted a 15.4 percent unemployment rate for January 2010, an increase of one percent, including benchmark revisions of .4 percent and a 1 percent increase from December 2009. The Ocala Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is currently ranked second highest in Florida for unemployment. The Ocala metro area’s December 2009 nonagricultural

employment was revised downward by just over 6,000 jobs primarily due to changes in education/health services and construction.

Citrus County followed with a rate of 14.6 percent, an increase of .1 percent from the previous month. Levy County increased to 14.3 percent, an increase of .9 percent from December 2009.

Rusty Skinner, Workforce Connection Chief Executive Officer, stated, “The biggest issue is the kick-up of .4 percent in Marion County from refinement of statistics. The scattered unemployment in January is possibly due to seasonal or holiday work and permanent drop of jobs, causing an increase of one percentage point. In Marion County we had a slight expansion of the labor force, but shrinking of employment. Total unemployment jumped more than 1,400, but it’s hard to tell the precise reason of the change. This could be a result of the Christmas hiring. We will be able better assess in March when February statistics are available,” he added.

“On a positive note, the state has released federal funding for the Florida Back to Work Program. In our region, this will result in approximately 200 new people employed in the next few weeks,” stated Skinner.

Workforce was Florida’s first region to execute the program, using federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) for subsidized employment with a pilot program for a Department of Children and Families Call Center hiring 76 temporary employees.

The number of individuals without jobs in Marion County increased from 19,357 to 20,783 from December to January. The number of unemployed individuals increased from 7,652 to 8,316 in Citrus County and from 2,203 to 2,375 in Levy County.

Effective March 2010, Workforce will utilize a more strategic approach to job fairs. Instead of general job fairs that have been held the second Tuesday of the month, Workforce is scheduling four job fairs or talent showcases over the next six months that focus on specific industry sectors. The events focus on graduates of Workforce-sponsored training programs, will be preceded by free employability skills training and resume clinics in collaboration with Monster, an online employment website, and Central Florida Community College.

Workforce also hosts employer spotlights for area employers that are expanding. These customized recruitment events help connect employers with qualified candidates for their specific industry and required job skills.

To get a full copy of the January Unemployment Data or to find out more about upcoming job fairs and services, go to www.clmworkforce.com or call toll free 1-800-434-JOBS and speak to a Workforce Representative.

Workforce Connection is a member of the Employ Florida network of workforce services and

resources. Workforce Connection is an equal opportunity employer/program. Auxiliary aids and services are

available upon request to individuals with disabilities.

All voice telephone numbers listed above may be

reached by persons using TTY/TDD equipment via the Florida Relay Service at 711. If you need

accommodations, please call 352-840-5700, ext. 7878 or e-mail accommodations@clmworkforce.com.

Please make request at least three business days in advance.

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