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State jobless patterns are not felt locally

Area's diversity keeps job losses down; manufacturing stays solid

POSTED: July 18, 2014 12:03 a.m.

The rising jobless rate in Georgia doesn’t reflect the local employment picture, area business leaders say.

The unemployment rate in Georgia climbed to 7.4 percent in June, a increase from 7.2 in May.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said Thursday the increase in unemployment was attributable to regular seasonal fluctuations. Those include summer job losses among school workers and temporary layoffs in manufacturing.

In June, Gainesville lost 400 jobs, said John Ard, spokesman for the Georgia Department of Labor. Of those jobs, 100 were in school and state government, and 300 were in wholesale trade and transportation.

Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Economic Development Tim Evans said while there might be seasonal employment fluctuations for school workers, manufacturing layoffs in Gainesville are less likely.

“Our industry base is very diverse and probably the largest sector for us is manufacturing,” he said. “Our food-processing base is very stable. We have automotive components assembling, metal fabrication — those industry groups are also fairly steady — so there’s not a lot of fluctuation when you look at that local employment base.”

Evans said the numbers the Department of Labor issues for Georgia don’t necessarily reflect Gainesville’s employment patterns.

“There’s a lot of variability from one region of the state to another,” he said. “You have to take those statewide numbers with a deeper dive into the local and regional picture.”

Georgia’s May unemployment rate was 1.1 percent higher than Gainesville’s. June’s numbers for Gainesville will be released next week.

Phil Sutton, chief administrative officer for Gainesville’s Kubota manufacturing plant, said he doesn’t see the employment numbers dropping in manufacturing.

“We can’t get enough folks,” he said. “We’ve been increasing over the last few months in our Gainesville and Jefferson facility. We’re increasing both temporary and full-time staffing. Manufacturing is alive and well in Gainesville, and we’re hiring, hiring, hiring.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.



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