COVINGTON -- Newton County's unemployment rate is slowly dropping.
Numbers recently released by the Georgia Department of Labor show that Newton's rate was at 11.5 percent in April, having dropped a full percent since January. While that's still higher than the state's 9.9 percent, it does represent a decrease for Newton, where the rate has been stuck above 12 percent for most of the year.
The Department of Labor reports that Newton has a work force totaling 45,678, with 5,269 unemployed.
Meanwhile, the state's unemployment rate is also declining, dropping one-tenth of a percentage point since March.
"Not only is this the first time in nearly two years that Georgia's unemployment rate has dipped into the single digits, but this is also the third consecutive month of job growth," said state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. "This developing trend shows increasing confidence in the economy."
The last time the state's rate was below 10 percent was in June 2009.
There were 3,834,100 payroll jobs in April, up 30,100, or eight-tenths of a percentage point from March. Most of the new jobs were added in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, trade, educational and health services and construction.
The number of long-term unemployed workers continues to decline, the Department of Labor reports. There were 254,800 long-term unemployed Georgians in April, down 2.6 percent since March. But that's still 18.4 percent higher than this time last year. The long-term unemployed account for 55.1 percent of Georgia's 462,370 jobless workers.
April is the 43rd consecutive month Georgia has exceeded the national unemployment rate, which is 9 percent.