Cherokee’s unemployment rate fell from 5.9 percent in January to 5.7 percent in February, and remained steady at 5.7 percent in March.
Lewis Cline, community executive for Bank of North Georgia and chair of the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, said the March unemployment figures are a positive indicator of how the local, state and national economies are doing.
“The steady unemployment rate for Cherokee County from February 2014 to March 2014 does represent stabilization in the local economy,” Cline said Friday. “In addition, we continue to see improvement in Georgia and national unemployment rates.”
Cline said he sees an encouraging trend, and expects the county’s unemployment rate to continue to improve.
“Activity in the housing market, health care, service and manufacturing industries is strong and should remain strong in the future,” Cline said. “These industries continue to show signs of increased sales with expansion plans the next two to four years. As these industries continue to grow in Cherokee County, so should the opportunity for gainful employment for our residents.”
Since March 2013, the local unemployment rate has dropped a full percentage point, from 6.7 to 5.7 percent, and Cline said the drop is consistent with state and national trends.
“From March 2013 to March 2014, Georgia’s unemployment rate has dropped from 8.4 percent to 7.0 percent. Cherokee County’s unemployment rate of 5.7 is better than state and national averages because of the pro-business climate our county officials, municipalities and development authorities emphasize,” Cline said. “Some examples of a strong pro-business climate the past year include Inalfa Roof Systems adding 300 new jobs, The Outlet Shoppes of Atlanta adding 1,200 new jobs and Roytec Industries adding 100 jobs.”
In March, Cherokee County recorded 115,066 eligible workers, with 6,551 unemployed, compared to February, with 114,252 eligible workers and 6,457 people unemployed, the seasonally unadjusted figures released Thursday from the Department of Labor show.
The number of eligible workers is determined by adding the number of people employed and those actively seeking employment.
In March last year, Cherokee recorded 113,928 eligible workers and 7,663 people unemployed.
Forsyth had the lowest unemployment rate in the area at 5.4 percent, with Cherokee following in second. Nearby counties’ unemployment rates for March are: Bartow at 6.7 percent, Cobb at 6.3 percent, DeKalb at 7.1 percent, Douglas at 7.1 percent, Fulton at 7.6 percent, Forsyth at 5.4 percent and Paulding at 6.3 percent.
Statewide, Georgia’s unemployment rate fell slightly from 7.1 to 7 percent in March; a year ago the unemployment rate for Georgia was 8.4 percent.
In metro Atlanta, unemployment also decreased, from 6.9 in February to 6.8 in March, the figures show.
The number of initial claims for unemployment insurance in Cherokee also fell, from 562 in February to 407 in March — a decrease of 155 claims, or 27.6 percent.
Over the year, since last March, the number of claims fell by 25.5 percent.
State officials with the Department of Labor said metro Atlanta employers created more jobs and laid off less workers this March, allowing the metro Atlanta unemployment rate to fall.
Sam Hall, director of communications for the Department of Labor, said the number of jobs increased by seven-tenths of a point from February to March.
“Most of the job gains came in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, trade, transportation and warehousing, construction, government and information services,” Hall said in a news release Thursday. “Over the year, the number of jobs increased by 51,500, or a 2.2 percent increase, from 2,375,600 jobs in March 2013.”