The jobless rate for Marion County in April was 4.7 percent, down over the month from 5.1 percent and down from 5.4 percent in April 2016. That is the lowest rate since June 2007, when it also was 4.7 percent.

According to the employment summary released Friday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Levy County's jobless rate dropped from 4.6 to 4.2 percent and Citrus County''s rate was 5.5 percent rate, down from 6.0 percent. Florida’s not seasonally adjusted rate was 4.0 percent, down over the month from 4.4 percent; and the nation’s rate was 4.1 percent, down from 4.6 percent.

The unemployment rate for the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion region was 4.8 percent in April, down half a percentage point over the month and 0.8 percent lower than the same time last year. It is the first time since the slow economic recovery began that joblessness dropped below 5 percent for the area, according to a news release from the agency.

For the fourth consecutive month, the Ocala metropolitan statistical area had the fastest annual job growth rate in Florida in professional and business services, at 9.7 percent and the third fastest in mining, logging and construction, at 10.4 percent, the release stated.

Rusty Skinner, chief executive officer for CareerSource CLM, noted that five years ago the region’s unemployment rate was 9.6 percent – the first single digits since November 2008. At that time, there were 19,495 people out of work and employment was 183,512 or 17,118 fewer than April 2016.

“It’s important to keep things in perspective,” he said in the release. “That said, we’re going to continue to work with business, economic and education partners to help ensure that everyone who wants a job can get one here in our communities or within a reasonable commute of our area.”