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Area jobless rate rises again, up to 7.5 percent
Georgia Department of Labor employee Jessica Paz, right, helps Taiwania Bush with her job search. The unemployment rate in Gainesville rose to 7.5 percent in June. - photo by Tom Reed | The Times
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.