A Step Backward or Forward? Georgia’s Unemployment Ticks up to 8.6 Percent

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Just as Georgia’s economy seemed to be improving, the most recent report from the Georgia Department of Labor seems to prove otherwise. In November the unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent from 8.7 in October. The December rate, however, ticked up again to 8.6 percent. The rate, though, is down from last December’s rate of 9.4 percent.

In a recent press release Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said a combination of factors caused the uptick.

“We had a modest increase in new layoffs, along with a small job loss driven primarily by seasonal layoffs in education. Basically, the December numbers are flat, but even so, this is the best November to December job market report since 2007,”

Butler said, adding,

“The most important thing to remember from this report is that our unemployment rate is much lower, the pace of new layoffs slower, and the number of jobs significantly larger than a year ago,”

Butler continued.

“Our economy has definitely improved in the past year.”

The latest report cites the number of unemployment insurance benefits increased to 50,861, up 3.510 from 47,351 in November.

“In December, there were 362,800 manufacturing jobs in Georgia, which is the most since April 2009,”

Gov. Nathan Deal said, adding.

“More than 15,000 of those jobs have been created since December 2010. After years of decline, the growth we’ve had over the past two years indicates that Georgia’s manufacturing base is alive and beginning to thrive again. This is a great step closer to making Georgia the No. 1 place in the country to do business.”

According to the report, the increase in unemployment claims came in manufacturing, construction, wholesale trade, and administrative support services.


the report stated,

“the number of initial claims was down by 12,853, or 20.2 percent, over the year, dropping from 63,714 in December 2011. Most of the over-the-year decline came in accommodations and food services, manufacturing, administrative and support services, construction, and retail trade.”

It also stated that Georgia’s labor force increased by 4,159 to 4,804, 459 in December, noting that this was the highest level since February 2009.

Locally, though, some areas are faring better than others. During a recent Economic Development Authority meeting in Pickens County, Economic Director Gerry Nechvatal noted that Pickens County’s unemployment rate is 7.5 percent, while near-by counties are slightly higher. For instance, Fannin County’s rate is 8.6 percent and Gilmer’s is 9.7 percent, both above the national average, while Pickens’ rate remains a notch below the national average. Further, Nechvatal said Pickens is currently working on deals with several companies to bring them in to the county, but cautioned some of the deals are still in the early stages.

Despite these faint gleams of growth, businesses in Georgia still face a limping and recessionary economy further irritated by new and venomous regulations of Obamacare, which lawmakers are still attempting to reverse.

In an FYN interview earlier this month, Ninth District Congressman Doug Collins (R-GA) said the House will soon address appropriations bills dealing with the funding of Obamacare. The intent, here, is to de-fund the legislation by addressing these bills, which, if successful, will take the burden off businesses and free-up capital.


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