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Jobless rate up to 4.5 percent for Gainesville region in January
Unemployment still well down from same period in 2015, Labor Department says
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A strong jobs market in Northeast Georgia brings good news, bad news: Even as unemployment numbers wobble a bit, they are far better than last year’s.

The Gainesville area unemployment rate remains the lowest in Georgia in January even though rate increased to 4.5 percent, up from 4.1 percent in December, according to the state Department of Labor.

Yet the rate in January 2015 was 5.2 percent in the region, which includes all of Hall County.

The rise may be a temporary blip. The labor department blames it on a decrease in the number of jobs and increased layoffs, as measured by unemployment insurance claims. Much of those job losses and increase in claims is due to seasonal hiring for temporary jobs and the layoffs that follow it, the department said in a news release.

The number of jobs in Gainesville decreased to 84,400, down by 1,700, or 2 percent, from 86,100 in December. Most of the decrease came in trade, transportation and warehousing, along with the goods-producing sector, which includes manufacturing and construction.

In the past year, Gainesville has gained 3,500 jobs, a 4.3 percent growth rate, up from 80,900 in January 2015. Most of the job gains came in retail trade and the goods-producing sector, which includes manufacturing and transportation.

The number of initial claims for unemployment insurance rose by 171, or 21.4 percent, to 969 in January. Most of the increase came in wholesale trade, arts, entertainment and recreation. Also, over the year, claims were up by 48, or 5.2 percent, from 921 in January 2015.

The jobless rate in the nearby Georgia Mountains region was 4.7 percent in January, up from 4.4 percent in December. The rate in January 2015 was 5.5 percent.

Georgia’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for January was 5.4 percent, down from 5.5 percent in December. It was 6.3 percent in January 2015.

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