The job search
Newton unemployment rate higher than state, nation

COVINGTON - The unemployment rate in both Newton and Rockdale counties is higher than the state and national averages, with Newton County faring the worst, according to statistics from the Georgia Department of Labor.

In December 2008, the last month for which statistics are available, Newton County's unemployment rate was at 10.4 percent, with a work force of 47,052 and 4,871 unemployed, the Department of Labor reports.

That's nearly double the 5.5 percent rate that was reported in December 2007. It's also about 3 percent higher than the national unemployment rate of 7.2 percent and the state rate of 7.8 percent.

Rockdale County's unemployment rate was at 8.7 percent in December 2008, with a work force of 41,382 and 3,582 unemployed, according to the Department of Labor.

Rockdale's rate also jumped significantly from the year prior - it was 5.1 percent in December 2007.

Over the last year, the number of payroll jobs in Georgia decreased by 121,800 or 2.9 percent, according to the Department of Labor. Jobs were lost in manufacturing, construction and trade, along with professional and business services, including temporary employment agencies. Jobs were added in health care, education, and with the federal government.

In January, the Department of Labor announced that claims for state unemployment insurance benefits had increased 174 percent from December 2007 to December 2008.

The news was described as "Stunning and sobering," by State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond. "The December claims report confirms the severity of this economic downturn and increases the probability that the current recession will be long and difficult."

The Georgia Department of Labor's Covington Career Center and DeKalb Technical College are now offering help employers and job seekers alike by hosting a job fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 19.

The job fair will be held on the campus of DeKalb Tech, located at 16200 Alcovy-Jersey Road.

About 20 employers will participate, along with other organizations that will provide educational and other resources for job seekers, according to a press release issued by the Department of Labor. Applicants should bring plenty of resumes and be prepared to fill out company applications and interview for available job openings.

Employers expected to participate include the Atlanta-Journal Constitution; CTC/Army National Guard; Global Financial; Learn Network; Manpower; Me and My Nana; Nurse Management Services; Smart Styles; Solo Cup; U.S. Army; Wagner Service Solutions; and World Financial Group.

"Our job fairs and career centers have long proven to be effective tools for matching good employers with qualified job seekers," Thurmond said. "Although Georgia is going through challenging economic times, with rising unemployment and limited job growth, employment opportunities still exist. It may take a little longer for the job seeker to find the right job, but those who persist will succeed. I strongly urge job seekers, and employers alike, to take full advantage of the services and opportunities available at this job fair, as well as through the Georgia Department of Labor's Covington Career Center."

For more information about the job fair, call the Covington Career Center at 770-784-2455.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.

SideBar: By The Numbers


· Unemployment rate, Dec. 2008: 7.8 percent

· Labor force: 4,887, 911

· Unemployed: 381,560

· Unemployment rate, Dec. 2007: 4.6 percent

Rockdale County

· Unemployment rate, Dec. 2008: 8.7 percent

· Labor force: 41,382

· Unemployed: 3,582

· Unemployment rate, Dec. 2007: 5.1 percent

Newton County

· Unemployment rate, Dec. 2008: 10.4 percent

· Labor force: 47,052

· Unemployed: 4,871

· Unemployment rate, Dec. 2007: 5.5 percent

Information courtesy of the Georgia Department of Labor.