Metro Gainesville set record highs in employment, jobs and labor force in November, as unemployment insurance claims declined, State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said Thursday.
“This is a great jobs report,” Butler said. “All the significant numbers are trending in the right direction. In fact, records are being set. This is further proof of our growing, dynamic economy.”
The area, which includes all of Hall County, posted a record high 90,800 jobs in November, up by 500 from a previous high of 90,300 in October. The job growth came in retail trade and the goods-producing sector such as manufacturing and construction, according to the labor department.
Since November 2016, metro Gainesville has posted 2,000 new jobs.
That’s a 2.3 percent growth rate, compared to the state job growth rate of 1.9 percent and the national rate of 1.4 percent. Over-the-year job growth has come in the private service industries, state government and the goods-producing sector.
The number of employed residents rose by 197 to a record-high 96,510. From November a year ago, the number of employed residents was up by 2,897.
The area’s labor force, which includes the total number of residents with jobs and those unemployed but looking for work, was up by 251 in November. The labor force, a record-high 100,133, is up by 2,515 since November 2016.
Unemployment claims were up by 19 percent to 393. Claims were up in manufacturing. When compared to last November, claims were down by 25 percent from 526.
The November unemployment rate, at 3.6 percent, was unchanged from October but down from 4.1 percent in November 2016. The state rate is 4.3 percent.
Employ Georgia, the GDOL’s online job listing service at employgeorgia.com showed 944 new active job postings in metro Gainesville for November.
The Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Development Council provided another dose of good news Thursday.
The council, a public-private partnership of the chamber, Hall County, Gainesville, Flowery Branch, Lula and Oakwood, reported 2017 year-end results of 29 new and expanding firms adding nearly 900 new jobs and $170 million in new capital investment to the area.
That’s up from 2016, when the area saw 18 new and expanding announcements accounting for 791 new jobs and $154.5 million in new capital investment.
Some of the job creation and investments announced in 2017 have already taken place, but for many companies, like Carroll Daniel Construction and Viking Range, their investment and job creation plans will take place in 2018, according to the report.
Additional business expansion decisions announced in 2017 included ProCare Rx, Mars Wrigley, Tower Sealants, Zebra Technologies and ZF Industries. And, several firms announced new headquarters and operational facilities, including Carroll Daniel, Mincey Marble and Elite Exhibits.
Not included in the statistics is the $130 million capital investment at the new Lanier Technical College campus on Ga. 365, slated for completion by fall 2018 and open for instruction in 2019.
Kubota, Tatsumi and Performance Foodservice completed construction of plants in 2017, but those capital investments were announced in 2016 and also not included in the latest figures.
“There have been a few layoffs or closures, and even fewer that met the requirements of a (federal notification law) during the past two years,” said Tim Evans, vice president of economic development for the chamber.
He cited a couple in particular, including Perdue Foods, which laid off 60 workers in May.
And recently, “there were about 60 affected in a layoff at Beaulieu prior to its acquisition by Engineered Floors,” Evans said.
“As a business, the Belgian-owned Beaulieu was on the verge of financial collapse,” he said. “However, Engineered Floors is a company with good financial health, and the purchase of the Beaulieu assets is seen by many as a very good thing for the Gainesville operation and employment.”