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October 4, 2015


North Central Florida

Lilly Rockwell | 4/9/2013

Ocala/Marion County

» Marion County's unemployment rate dropped from about 11.5% a year ago to just under 9%. Some of the job growth came from new call centers. Sitel opened a 500-person call center in May, and Ansafone is moving its California headquarters to Ocala and opening a 300-person call center.

» The Ocala Power Plant incubator, an initiative of the chamber, city of Ocala and county, is at 84% capacity with 91 employees working there, says Kevin Sheilley, CEO of the Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership.

Business to Watch

» DS MediaLabs: Ocala-based DS MediaLabs has been developing apps for phones since 2007. It has worked with Nike, Lionsgate Films and Progressive Insurance. CFO and Senior Vice President of Business Development Shane Wooten says the company has developed more than 70 mobile applications. Wooten says sales have grown from $100,000 in 2011 to $1.2 million last year. It employs 20 and rents space in Ocala's Power Plant incubator.

Marion Population: 344,613
Population Growth Rate (2009-13): 1.02%
Population by Age:
0-14 15-19 20-39 40-64 65+
15.87% 5.18% 19.99% 31.67% 27.30%
Per Capita Income: $34,645


Dixie/Levy Counties

» Despite its decision to shut down the nearby Crystal River nuclear plant because of costly repairs, Progress Energy says it is still moving forward with plans to build a nuclear plant in southern Levy County. The plant wouldn't come online until 2024, says Progress Energy spokeswoman Suzanne Grant.

» A long-stalled new hospital in Chiefland by Ameris Health Systems will open in 2014. The 50-bed hospital is expected to employ 300.

»  Efforts are under way to better promote Williston's municipal airport to businesses, says Dave Pieklik, executive director at Nature Coast Business Development Council. The former Army airfield has 40 hangars and two runways.

Dixie Population: 16,768
Population Growth Rate (2009-13): 0.44%
Population by Age:
0-14 15-19 20-39 40-64 65+
16.36% 4.71% 21.80% 35.54% 21.59%
Per Capita Income: $24,033

Levy Population: 42,149
Population Growth Rate (2009-13): 0.77%
Population by Age:
0-14 15-19 20-39 40-64 65+
17.37% 5.44% 20.72% 35.51% 20.96%
Per Capita Income: $28,601

Tags: North Central, Economic Yearbook

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