Cherokee unemployment down
by Megan Thornton
mthornton@cherokeetribune.com
December 28, 2012 12:00 AM | 6345 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The unemployment rate for Cherokee County dropped slightly in November, keeping the county at the lowest rate in the metro Atlanta area and reflecting a statewide trend.

Figures released Thursday from the Georgia Department of Labor show the seasonally unadjusted rate is down to 6.4 percent from 6.5 percent in October, which is almost a full point lower than the 7.3 percent figure in November 2011.

Fayette County comes in a close second for the metro area at 6.8 percent.

The county labor force saw an increase to 114,906 from 114,634, also an increase from last November’s total of 112,948.

The number of employed Cherokee countians also rose by 369 from the previous month to 107,512 residents with jobs. That’s also an increase from last November’s figure of 104,708.

Dennis Burnette, president and CEO of Cherokee Bank and Cherokee County’s citizen member of the Atlanta Regional Commission board, said he thinks the local economy will continue to see stability with the low rates.

“I think people are feeling comfortable that businesses aren’t going to fail,” Burnette said. “I think the feeling amongst those (businesses) who have survived is that they are going to make it and they are not as frightened as they were a year ago to replace a person or hire a new person.”

Burnette said positive attitudes make all the difference in the world.

“The confidence level (among employers) is higher… I think people are getting comfortable with the idea that things have gotten about as bad as they’re going to get. I’ve always said things will not get better until they get as bad as they can get.”

Cherokee’s unemployment rate continues to be lower than the metro Atlanta rate, which stands at 8 percent for November. The rate is down from 8.2 percent in October and 8.9 percent in November 2011.

In a news release, department officials said the rate declined because of job growth and fewer new layoffs, which are represented by first-time claims for unemployment insurance benefits.

The metro region saw an increase of 12,300 new jobs in areas such as trade, transportation, warehousing, financial services, information services, education and health care.

These gains were strong enough to offset losses in leisure and hospitality, which saw 3,800 fewer jobs, and construction, which is down 900 jobs.

Within a year’s time, the number of metro Atlanta jobs increased by 33,900, or 1.5 percent, from 2,332,600 in November 2011. Statewide, Georgia gained 61,900 jobs over the last year.

Burnette said locally, he doesn’t think job numbers will see a huge jump in 2013.

“There may be some incremental improvement,” Burnett said. “A lot of our jobs are filled by people who live north of here, while our people typically work south of here.”

Burnette said the new Outlet Shoppes of Atlanta may not necessarily have a big impact on Cherokee’s employment numbers because he thinks many workers will come from surrounding counties.

However stable the numbers may continue be, Burnette is not very worried.

“If you look at the numbers, Cherokee’s already in pretty dad-gum good shape,” Burnette said.

The state agency also reported 680 fewer new claims for unemployment benefits in construction, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, and administrative and support services.

Meanwhile, Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined to 8.5 percent in November, down from 8.7 percent in October. The rate was 9.5 percent in November a year ago.

Throughout Georgia, there were 3,984,000 jobs in November, which is up 9,600 from 3,974,400 in October.

Other area unemployment rates include Bartow at 8.3 percent, Clayton at 10.2 percent, Cobb at 7.3 percent, DeKalb at 8.6 percent, Douglas at 8.4 percent, Fulton at 8.9 percent, Gwinnett at 7.1 percent, Henry at 8.5 percent; Paulding at 7.5 percent and Rockdale at 9.2 percent.
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