Hall County’s jobless rate keeps sinking while its jobs number keep rising.
The Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday, June 21, that the unemployment rate for May was 2.8 percent, which is the lowest in the state among 14 metropolitan statistical areas. It was 3.8 percent a year ago.
And there are 101,070 employed residents in Gainesville’s metropolitan statistical area, which includes all of Hall County. That’s up 812 from last month and 4,943 for the year.
Meanwhile, initial claims for unemployment grew by about 57 percent for the month. Claims are down by about 10 percent for the year, according to a report released Thursday.
The total labor force is up to 103,937. And the area has 93,500 total jobs, an all-time high.
Hall’s bustling economy has been a trend for some time.
Earlier this year, the number of jobs topped the 100,000 mark for the first time — up from 80,000 during the Great Recession.
Plentiful jobs and low jobless rates are good for workers but a struggle for employers looking for qualified workers.
“We continue to find it extremely challenging to recruit candidates for all levels of jobs, said Stacey Reece, franchise owner of Spherion Staffing Services in Gainesville.
“Our clients are looking at any benefit they can to entice potential candidates to come to work for them. Benefits can include enticements such as work from home a day or two a week or a (signing) bonus.”
Reece added: “Employers are also reviewing entry-level wages and making adjustments to entice candidates.”
An annual job fair March 21 at the Gainesville Civic Center put the problem on full display.
The event attracted 750 job seekers, down from 900 the previous year, but the room was wall-to-wall employers.
“If we had more space (at the civic center), we’d probably have more companies,” said Tim Evans, vice president of economic development for the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, at the time.
Overall, in Georgia, “Georgia’s employment numbers remain strong,” Labor Commissioner Mark Butler Butler said in the report. “Across the state, the unemployment rate either remained steady or dropped.”