In October 2012, the Cherokee County unemployment rate was slightly higher at 6.8 percent, according to seasonally unadjusted figures released by the Georgia Department of Labor.
Steve Holcomb, president of United Community Bank and member of the Cherokee County Development Authority, said that the local unemployment rate is slowing trending downward as the economy continues to improve.
“The overall trend has been a trend to lower unemployment, a more stable workforce and an improved economy, on a very slow basis,” Holcomb said. “There was a pickup in construction in Cherokee and in metro areas. Housing generally slows down in the winter-time, because of the weather; that may cause some additional unemployment as we go through the winter months.”
The government shutdown in October kept all states from publishing the September data as scheduled, but the Georgia Department of Labor released figures for September, along with the October figures, last Thursday.
In metro Atlanta, the unemployment rate rose three-tenths of a point, from 7.4 percent in September to 7.7 percent in October. In October of 2012, metro Atlanta’s unemployment rate was 8.5 percent.
“Because of the federal government shutdown, no states were allowed to publish local labor market data for September. During the interim, the rate for Atlanta fell from 7.9 percent in August to 7.4 percent for September,” Sam Hall, director of communications for the Department of Labor, said in a news release.
Cherokee County unemployment fell from 6.9 percent in July to 6.3 percent in August, and descended to 6 percent in September.
Holcomb said he sees the overall downward trend, and believes the economy is still recovering.
“Our area, as well as a lot of the economy, is still very much recovering,” Holcomb said. “A whole lot of folks are back to work, but there are folks that are still looking.”
Unemployment in Cherokee, though, was back on the rise in October, up to 6.3 percent, and officials at the Department of Labor said the one reason was an increase in new layoffs.
Statewide, unemployment declined to 8.1 percent in October, down from 8.3 percent in September. Last year in October, Georgia had an unemployment rate of 8.8 percent.
The number of eligible workers in Cherokee dropped from 114,850 in September, to 114,121 in October, down 729 people, the seasonally unadjusted figures show.
The number of eligible workers is determined by adding the number of people employed to those actively seeking employment.
In October, 106,959 eligible workers in Cherokee County were employed, while 6.3 percent, or 7,162 of the total number of 114,121 eligible workers, were unemployed.
Forsyth had the lowest unemployment rate in the area for October, with 5.8 percent, and Cherokee had the second lowest unemployment rate with 6.3 percent.
Nearby counties’ unemployment rates for October were Bartow at 7.6 percent, Cobb at 7 percent, DeKalb at 8.5 percent, Douglas at 8.1 percent, Fulton at 8.4 percent, Forsyth at 5.8 percent and Paulding at 7 percent.
The number of initial unemployment claims in Cherokee County increased by 25, or 5.4 percent, from September to October. There were 488 initial claims in October, up from 463 in September. In October 2012, there were 606 unemployment insurance initial claims.
Since October 2012, Cherokee County has seen a decrease of 118 unemployment insurance initial claims over the year, a decrease of 19.5 percent.
In metro Atlanta, the number of initial claims rose by 16.2 percent, or 2,703 claims, from 16,717 in September to 19,420 in October. Since October 2012, the number of initial claims in metro Atlanta dropped by 13.6 percent, or 3,057 claims.
Statewide, the number of initial claims for unemployment insurance rose by 17 percent, or 5,839 claims, from 34,293 in September to 40,132 in October. Over the year since October 2012, Georgia has seen a drop of 22.1 percent, totaling 11,363 fewer initial claims for unemployment insurance.
Georgia Department of Labor officials said many of the layoffs came in administrative and support services, professional and technical services, as well as trade, transportation and warehousing.
While initial claims for unemployment insurance rose, metro Atlanta employers added 15,300 jobs in October, bringing the number of jobs up six-tenths of a percent from September, to 2,434,400 in October.
The industry that added the most jobs in October was trade and transportation, adding 4,300 jobs. Other top industries adding jobs include: education and health care (2,700 jobs), government (1,800 jobs), manufacturing (1,700 jobs), professional and business services (1,300 jobs), leisure and hospitality (1,200 jobs), and financial services (1,200 jobs).
Since October 2012, metro Atlanta has gained 63,300 jobs, and officials said the biggest gains came in multiple sectors, including professional and business services (16,500 jobs), trade and transportation (13,400 jobs), education and health care (10,700 jobs), leisure and hospitality (9,900 jobs) and construction (8,500 jobs).
The metro Atlanta labor force, which includes those who are employed and actively seeking employment, declined by 15,541 in October, down to 2,721,161 in October from 2,736,702 in September. Over the year, the labor force has decreased by 34,497 from 2,755,658 in October 2012.