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Area jobless rate rises again, up to 7.5 percent

POSTED: July 26, 2012 11:36 p.m.

The unemployment rate in Hall County is headed back in the wrong direction.

The Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday that the preliminary unemployment rate in metro Gainesville rose to 7.5 percent in June, up six-tenths of a percentage point from 6.9 percent in May.

The rate was 8.6 percent in June 2011.

Tim Evans, vice president of economic development for the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, said he’s not overly concerned by the increase.

“The change in unemployment rates from one month to the next is influenced by so many seasonal factors that any single month is not a clear indicator of what’s happening in the local economy,” Evans said.

“The long-term trend in the unemployment rate is a much better indicator, and that has been on a steady decline over the last two years in Gainesville-Hall County.”

The rate increased because 489 new job seekers entered the labor force, but were unable to find work, pushing unemployment up 632.

“We’re doing relatively well compared with other metro areas in Georgia,” Evans said.

Statewide, Gainesville and Athens had the lowest area jobless rates at 7.5 percent, while metro Dalton had the highest at 12.3 percent. Athens has had the lowest area rate, or tied for the lowest, each month since December 2009. Dalton has had the highest area rate since August 2011.

The jobless rate in the Georgia Mountains area rose to 8.2 percent in June, up seven-tenths of a percentage point from 7.5 percent in May. The rate was 9 percent in June 2011.

Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 9.0 percent in June, up one-tenth of a percentage point from 8.9 percent in May, the first increase in almost a year. The jobless rate was 9.9 percent in June a year ago.

The unemployment rate in metro Atlanta rose to 9.3 percent. That number is up from 8.6 percent in May, but down from 10.2 percent in June 2011.

The number of jobs in the state dropped by 8,200, or two-tenths of a percentage point, from 3,941,500 in May to 3,933,300 in June. However, jobs were up by 45,200 from 3,888,100 in June 2011.

In metro Gainesville, jobs increased to 80,500, up by 300 from May, and up by 6,000 from 74,500 in June 2011.

Evans said several companies in the area have plans to hire 1,200 new employees over the next year.

“This is the best year we’ve had from the new and existing companies in quite a long time,” Evans said.

Tabitha McGowan, program facilitator for career services of Goodwill of North Georgia, said people are “definitely still looking for work.”

“We do see at least 300-plus people come through our center a month, more when we have a job fair,” McGowan said.

She said she’s seeing more people over the age of 55 coming into the center to try to find work. She’s also noticed an increase in people who are interested in starting their own small business.

She said some of the main things the center tries to do is update job seekers on what employers are looking for in today’s markets.

“It’s a total package when you’re looking for work,” McGowen said.

She said employers are looking for a professionally critiqued resume, a polished image and the ability to talk about a specific skill set.

The Goodwill Career Center offers several free professional development classes every month.

 


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