By: Kevin Karel (WRGA News)
Regional and county-by-county unemployment figures were released by the Georgia Department of Labor Thursday, and the data reflects the notion that it’s harder for workers to find a job in Northwest Georgia than it is in many other parts of the state.
On the surface it sounds promising: the rate of unemployment in the Northwest-Georgia region went down at a healthy clip, from 9.4% in January to 8.8% in February. The rate fell based on a dramatically lower number of first-time unemployment claims, which is related to the boom in those claims in January following the usual Christmas layoffs. But while the claims were down, the total number of people in the workforce in the region dropped by about 4,500 month-to-month, and is slightly lower than it was in February of last year.
The story was similar in the Metro Rome area where the unemployment rate fell sharply from 10.2% in January to 9.3% in February, but the total number of jobs stayed the same. The factors reflected those across the rest of the region, with the unemployment rate dropping primarily from a large fall in the number of first-time unemployment claims which are typically high in January from layoffs of holiday workers.
Whitfield County had an unemployment rate of 10.7% in February, highest in the surrounding area, followed by Chattooga at 10.2% and Gordon at 9.8%. Floyd had a 9.3% rate, similar to Bartow County’s even 9% and Polk’s 8.6%.
Statewide unemployment in Georgia for February is at 8.6%.
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