COVINGTON -- Unemployment numbers are in for January, and it's not good news for Newton County.
According to the Georgia Department of Labor, Newton County's unemployment rate climbed to 12.5 percent in January, up from 11.9 percent in December. The rate is lower, however, than the 13.4 percent reported in January 2010.
The Department of Labor reports that Newton County has a labor force of 45,730, with 5,732 unemployed.
Georgia's unemployment rate increased to 10.4 percent in January, up three-tenths of a percentage point from December, State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler announced Thursday. The 10.4 percent rate is an all-time high; the same rate was reported in January 2010.
The rate increased because of layoffs in manufacturing, construction, and administrative and support services, according to a press release issued by the Georgia Department of Labor.
"Georgia's job market for the past year has basically been flat," Butler said. "Although the rate dipped to 10 percent temporarily last summer, for the past seven months it has trended upward. Other troubling signs are that in the same 12-month period, the number of jobs has shown a miniscule increase, while the number of long-term unemployed has increased significantly."
January marked the 40th consecutive month that Georgia has exceeded the national unemployment rate, currently at 8.9 percent.
In January, there were 3,772,100 payroll jobs, an increase of one-tenth of a percentage point from January 2010, the Labor Department reports.
There were 262,700 long-term unemployed Georgians in January. Long-term unemployed are those who have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer. This represents an increase of 47.1 percent from January 2010 and increase of 1.4 percent from December. The long-term unemployed now account for a record high 54.2 percent of the 484,668 jobless workers in Georgia.
"Georgia's unemployment rate has long been above the national average rate, but I'm concerned that the disparity between the two is growing," Butler said. "While our state rate remains at the same level as a year ago, in the same period the national average rate has decreased from 9.7 percent to 9 percent. Our economic recovery appears to lag the nation as a whole."