County unemployment declines in July to 6.9%
by Michelle Babcock
August 24, 2013 12:00 AM | 1599 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cherokee County unemployment dropped to 6.9 percent in July, down four-tenths of a point from 7.3 in June, and a local business leader expects the numbers to continue dropping.

In July 2012, the county unemployment rate was 7.6 percent.

The unemployment rate for metro Atlanta dropped to 8.6 percent, down from 8.8 percent in June, and a year ago in July, metro Atlanta unemployment was at 9.3 percent, according to seasonally unadjusted figures released Thursday by the Georgia Department of Labor.

President and CEO of Cherokee Bank Dennis Burnette said that many local businesses are seeing increased sales and revenue this year.

“I think local business activity is up, based on my conversations with business people in the community,” Burnette said. “We went probably four years hearing reports of business being flat and now we are more often hearing that people’s business is increasing.”

Pam Carnes, president and CEO of the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce, agreed with Burnette.

“At this point, being at 6.9 percent is phenomenal based on what we were seeing even a year ago, and based on where metro Atlanta is our numbers are looking very good,” Carnes said.

Carnes said “even though the numbers do continue to decrease, until you have a flat line, you still have unemployed” people.

“There are still those that are seeking positions. The people that I hear from that are in that mode of continuing to search or have vacated professional roles, based on the economy, whether they’ve been downsized or whatever the case may be, in those professional positions they’re having a harder time finding new opportunities,” Carnes said.

Burnette says he feels while unemployment has declined, professionals may be having a hard time finding opportunities.

“I have some concerns that a lot of the employment gains that we are seeing are probably the service and restaurant business. I don’t know if we’re seeing the higher growth we would like in order to have a robust economy,” Burnette said. “While I think it’s a positive that unemployment has dropped, I think there’s still a lot of people who are underemployed, that maybe they have gotten a job but not at the same salary level that they enjoyed prior to the great recession.”

State figures show Cherokee County had 116,186 eligible workers in July with 8,042 unemployed, or 6.9 percent. In June, there were 115,895 eligible workers and 8,430, or 7.3 percent, who were unemployed. In July 2012, figures show 115,041 eligible workers and 8,718 unemployed, or 7.6 percent.

The lowest unemployment rate in the area for July was Forsyth at 6.7 percent, and Cherokee had the second lowest unemployment rate at 6.9 percent.

Nearby counties’ unemployment rates for July are: Bartow at 9.3 percent, Cobb at 7.7 percent, DeKalb at 8.9 percent, Douglas at 8.8 percent, Fulton at 9.3 percent, Forsyth at 6.7 percent and Paulding at 8 percent.

Georgia Department of Labor officials said in a news release Thursday that 15,945 people in metro Atlanta found employment in July.

Although unemployment fell, officials said that the number of overall jobs decreased from 2,414,200 in June to 2,412,800 in July. Since July 2012, metro Atlanta gained 72,000 jobs, a rise of 3.1 percent from 2,340,800 jobs in a year ago.

Officials said the private sector gained 9,400 jobs in July and the government shed 10,800 jobs, leaving an overall loss of 1,400.

In the private sector, officials said the most job increases came in construction (3,200 jobs), trade and transportation (2,700 jobs), education and health services (1,400 jobs), leisure and hospitality (1,200 jobs), information services (700 jobs), manufacturing (600 jobs) and financial services (300 jobs).

Since July 2012, metro Atlanta gained 72,000 jobs, up 3.1 percent from a year ago. Officials said that the gains came in many industries.

Some of the gains came in the industries of professional and business services (22,700 jobs), trade and transportation (13,600 jobs), education and health services (13,200 jobs), leisure and hospitality (11,500 jobs), construction (7,100 jobs), information services (4,700 jobs) and financial services (2,700 jobs).

Government jobs have decreased by 1,700 since July 2012.

The metro Atlanta labor force rose by 11,643 from June to July, which includes the number of people who are employed or unemployed but actively searching for work. In July, there were 2,779,160 people in the labor force, while in June there were 2,767,517.

The labor force had increased by 26,771 since July 2012, from 2,752,389.

Statewide, Georgia’s seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate for July was 8.8 percent, up from 8.5 percent in June. In July 2012, the unemployment rate was 9.1 percent.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits in Cherokee County rose by 12.1 percent over the month of July, up 57 claims from 470 in June to 527 in July. Claims are down 30.7 percent, or 233 claims, since July 2012.

In the metro Atlanta area, initial claims for unemployment benefits rose by 22 percent, or by 4,274 claims, up from 19,426 in June to 23,700 in July.

Statewide, Georgia saw 36 percent rise in the number of initial claims filed for July, up 14,329 from 39,777 in June to 54,106 in July.

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