Unemployment lowest in 5 years
by Michelle Babcock
December 26, 2013 11:30 PM | 1496 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
02-05-13  --Ahrens, Buzz mug rgb--  STAFF/SAMANTHA M. SHAL
02-05-13 --Ahrens, Buzz mug rgb-- STAFF/SAMANTHA M. SHAL
Residents are getting back to work in Cherokee County in force, with the latest unemployment rate the lowest in five years.

Cherokee County’s latest unemployment rate fell to 5.7 percent in November, down six-tenths of a point from 6.3 percent in October.

Georgia Department of Labor spokeswoman Lauren Staley said Cherokee County hasn’t seen this low of an unemployment rate for years.

“The last time the rate was as low, or lower, than 5.7 percent, which is what it is for November, was in August of 2008 when the rate was 5.6 percent,” Staley said.

Chairman of the Development Authority of Cherokee County Marshall Day said the lower unemployment rate is good news for Cherokee.

“That set of numbers is obviously welcome, since it’s been so many years since we saw similar numbers,” Day said Thursday. “What we’re seeing is the recovery gaining strength, in Cherokee especially. We’ve got a great environment here for business. Our existing industries are all having a robust 2013, and are looking forward to an even better 2014.”

Day said more jobs will be coming to Cherokee County in January as the vehicle roof company, Inalfa Roof Systems, moves in.

“The Development Authority has a business park over on Highway 92, and we’ve got a company moving in there, that’ll be our first company in that park. They’re moving in in January, and that’s going to bring about 300 jobs so we’re excited about that,” Day said.

“They make roof systems for automobiles … it’s a quality company and we’re excited to have them.”

In metro Atlanta, the unemployment rate fell to 7 percent in November, down from 7.7 percent in October, and Sam Hall, director of communications for the GDOL, said metro Atlanta saw one of the lowest unemployment rates in years as well.

“This is the lowest the rate has been since it was 6.9 percent in October 2008,” Hall said in a news release Thursday. “The rate was 8.1 percent in November a year ago.”

Forsyth had the lowest unemployment rate in the area, with 5.3 percent, with Cherokee County posting the second lowest rate, according to seasonally unadjusted figures released Thursday by the Georgia Department of Labor.

In November 2012, the Cherokee County unemployment rate was 6.5 percent.

Nearby counties’ unemployment rates for November are: Bartow at 6.9 percent, Cobb at 6.3 percent, DeKalb at 7.5 percent, Douglas at 7.2 percent, Fulton at 7.8 percent, Forsyth at 5.3 percent and Paulding at 6.3 percent.

Chairman of the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners Buzz Ahrens said Cherokee County is following a statewide trend of decreasing unemployment.

“I’m certainly encouraged that the unemployment rates overall are dropping, because they did have a little bit of an increase in the fall,” Ahrens said.

Ahrens said he thinks businesses could do better if there was more confidence, but said Cherokee is doing well.

“Businesses have the resources to expand. They just want a little more assurance that, in fact, an uptick is more permanent than just an uptick,” he said. “We’re on the radar … Cherokee is a good place to do business and we’re doing a lot of things right.”

Statewide, the November unemployment rate was 7.7 percent, down from 8.1 percent in October. A year ago in November, the statewide unemployment rate was 8.7 percent.

“The rate declined in November primarily because the number of jobs increased and the number of unemployment insurance claims were down,” Hall added.

The number of initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased in Cherokee, from 488 in October to 417 in November, a decline of 14.5 percent. In November 2012, there were 641 initial claims in Cherokee.

From November 2012 to November 2013, Cherokee saw a decrease of 224 initial claims for unemployment insurance, a 34.9 percent drop.

Day said Cherokee County’s existing businesses have had a good year, and more opportunity is on the horizon.

“We’re in touch with our existing industries, and with the good year they’re having it doesn’t surprise me that they’re adding jobs,” he said. “Just the activity at the Development Authority is way up. Prospects are looking at sites and especially looking at our Cherokee 75 corporate park, which is in the opportunity zone, and that’s got a lot of good prospects interested.”

The number of layoffs, which are represented by initial claims for unemployment insurance, fell by 16.5 percent in metro Atlanta, from 19,420 in October to 16,222 in November.

Throughout the state, the number of initial claims fell from 40,132 in October to 33,781 in November, a decrease of 15.8 percent. Over the year, Georgia saw the number of initial claims decrease by 28.7 percent.

Layoffs happened in many sectors, including professional and technical services, administrative and support services, health care and social assistance, manufacturing and retail trade.

In Cherokee, the number of eligible workers rose from 114,041 in October to 114,620 in November, the seasonally unadjusted figures show.

The number of eligible workers is determined by adding the number of people employed and those actively seeking employment.

Of the eligible workers in Cherokee, 108,036 were employed and 6,584 were unemployed in November, compared with 106,908 employed and 7,133 unemployed in October.

In metro Atlanta, employers added 14,300 jobs in November, bringing the total number of jobs up to 2,447,600, the GDOL figures show. Most new jobs came in the industry of trade, transportation and warehousing, adding 8,600 jobs.

Other industries that added jobs include: government (2,000), leisure and hospitality (1,800), education and health care (1,200) and information services and construction (800 each).

Over the year, the number of jobs increased by 2.5 percent, an increase of 59,200 jobs since November 2012. The industries that added the most jobs include: professional and business services (15,100), leisure and hospitality (12,000), education and health services (11,500), construction (10,500) and trade, transportation and warehousing (8,700).

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