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County, metro jobless rates up; state layoffs lowest since 2006
by Noreen Cochran
March 18, 2014 03:10 PM | 1494 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
According to the Georgia Department of Labor, the county and the metro Atlanta area shed their Christmas jobs in January, helping to drive the unemployment rate up.

The January rate is 7.2 percent in the metro, up from 6.8 percent in December. It is 7.9 percent in Fulton, 9.3 percent in Atlanta and 11.2 percent in East Point.

“This time of year we always have fewer jobs because the seasonal hiring of Christmas is over. This part of the time of the year reflects that. We saw the Atlanta area lose just shy of 40,000 jobs,” Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a statement last week.

But the latest figures have a silver lining, he said.

“When you compare this past January to the previous January, there are over 58,000 more jobs in the metro Atlanta area than there were a year ago,” Butler said. “A lot of temporary jobs that we saw during the holiday season actually were turned into permanent jobs.”

Jobs eliminated in January in trade, transportation, warehousing, professional services, business services, leisure, hospitality, education and health care were offset by jobs created in those same sectors throughout the year.

Construction and financial services were also hiring.

“That’s the best news,” Butler said. “We actually saw positive job numbers across every major sector except one, which was government. The only sector that has lost jobs over the 12 months was in government.”

State, city and county governments decreased their headcounts by 1,600 in metro Atlanta in January; statewide, the number was 9,600.

Butler said winter storm Leon impacted metro Atlanta profits in late January, but not initial claims for unemployment benefits.

“There was no doubt some people lost a few days of work, but they had not been laid off,” he said. “There was a tremendous effect on businesses for loss of time, production and income, but as far as affecting the rate, it did not.”

Georgia’s jobless rate decreased to 7.3 percent from 7.4 percent the previous month and from 8.6 percent last year, partly due to nearly 16,000 employees joining or rejoining the workforce.

The number of new layoffs in Georgia in January fell to the lowest level in eight years, according to department spokesman Sam Hall.

“There were 58,091 new claims for unemployment insurance,” he said in a statement. “This is the smallest number of claims in January since 2006.”

This development occurred even as the state experienced the “traditional December to January job loss,” Butler said.

“Georgia actually had 80,800 more jobs than in January a year ago, which is a strong gain,” he said.

The sectors beefing up their ranks were the same as the metro area, with leisure and hospitality leading the way. Those sectors’ net results are nearly 15,000 new positions, of which 13,500 are in the Atlanta area.

Also coming out ahead even after job losses, the sectors of education and health care added about 6,000 workers state-wide, of which more than 2,000 are in the metro.

Manufacturing lost 2,100 jobs statewide, a figure not offset by new jobs.

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