Update, June 25: The Hall County jobless rate dropped to 8% in May, as the economy started to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.
Still, the jobs picture is a far cry from what it was a year ago, when the rate was 2.7%.
“The fact that almost every single monthly indicator in May’s job market report was positive shows great promise to Georgia’s economy up ahead,” Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said. “Seeing these monthly numbers begin to increase means that we are definitely heading back in the right direction.”
Update, May 28: The Hall County area's unemployment rate hit 10.6% in April, an all-time high, according to the Georgia Department of Labor on Thursday, May 28.
The high number is due to jobless claims being filed as a result of businesses shutting down during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In April 2019, Hall’s jobless rate was 2.6%.
Hall’s jobless rate increased by more than 7 percentage points between March and April 2020. The rate in March was 3.4%, according to the labor department.
The jobless trend is statewide, with labor officials announcing record high jobless numbers in metro areas across the state.
Hall’s jobless rate is eclipsed by other areas, with the highest rate at 20.1% in Murray County. Elsewhere across the state, percentages are in the teens.
“We are continuing to work with employers on effective strategies to get Georgians back to work in both a safe and economically efficient way,” Commissioner Mark Butler said.
Previous article: The Hall County area’s jobless rate climbed to 3.4% in March, compared to 3% at this time last year, as jobless claims piled up because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Gainesville finished the month with 99,375 employed residents, 1,576 fewer than in February but up by 509 when compared to March 2019, according to a Georgia Department of Labor news release on Thursday, April 23.
The number of unemployment claims went up by 1,655% in March, “which directly correlated with the number of temporary layoffs associated with COVID-19,” the release said.
When compared to last March, claims were up by about 1,547%.
The jobless trend is statewide, with the number of initial jobless claims reaching an all-time high, Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said April 16.
The department said Thursday it has processed nearly 1.1 million claims in the past month, more than the combined total for the previous three years.
“Even if we added 10,000 people today that were trained to answer the phone, we would still not be able to keep up with the volume we’re having right now,” Butler told reporters in a briefing Thursday afternoon. “When you’re talking about this many claims, it is not unreasonable to think that there’s 200,000 trying to call us at any given moment of any given day.”
The current jobless rate for Georgia is 4.2 percent and the national rate is 4.4%, according to the labor department’s website.
So, Hall County is faring much better, on average, than the rest of the state.
“Having a diversified business community helps buffer our local economy from the worst part of an economic downturn,” said Tim Evans, the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s vice president of economic development.
Gainesville-Hall County has a broad base of manufacturing, professional services and health care services.
“Some businesses will be more able to adapt and weather this economy more than others,” Evans said.
Also, Gainesville-Hall “is fortunate to have a large number of essential businesses in manufacturing, food processing, logistics and some consumer retail and professional services.”
Still, “there are business sectors that will feel the brunt of the pandemic, including hospitality, personal services, dine-in restaurants and destination retail centers like shopping and outlet malls,” Evans said.