Douglas County’s unemployment rate in July rose six-tenths of a percentage point, from 7.6 percent in June to 8.2 percent in July, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.
However, the county’s 8.2 percent unemployment rate was three-tenths of a percentage point lower than that of July 2013 when it was at 8.5 percent, department spokesman John Ard said.
The July unemployment figures in Douglasville reflected a five-tenths of a percentage point rise from the previous month, climbing from 9.2 percent in June to 9.7 percent in July.
In addition, the jobless percentage rate was higher than it was for the same period last year when the city jobless rate was 9.4 percent.
Ard said the July increase was primarily due to seasonal fluctuations.
“These factors would include things like temporary layoffs in educational services and manufacturing,” he said. “However, we have found that most of the laid-off workers have returned to their jobs.”
From a numbers perspective, residents of Douglas County looking for work rose by 443, climbing from 5,196 in June to 5,639 in July.
In Douglasville, the number of residents out of a job in July was 1,478, compared to 1,388 for the previous month.
Douglasville Mayor Harvey Persons said unemployment numbers can be worrisome if they rise.
“Unemployment affects commerce and commerce affects the welfare of the community and the quality of life in that community,” Persons said.
“For this June through July period, the percentage change is reflected in tenths of a percentage point and not in [whole] percentages, which is significant. Much of these jobs were seasonal jobs.”
Douglas County Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Officer Kali Boatright agreed.
“Our unemployment numbers are staying rather consistent,” she said.
“Certainly there are things that occur during the summer that affect unemployment, so we need to allow for seasonal adjustments.”
However, she said she believes a priority for Douglas County is to have its workforce have the skills and training to do the jobs that companies looking to expand or relocate here usually bring with them.
“We have got to do all we can in Douglas County to see that our workforce can step up and do the jobs that these companies may be offering,” Boatright said.