COVINGTON -- The unemployment rate continues to creep steadily downward in Newton and Rockdale counties, and statewide.
The Georgia Department of Labor announced earlier this month that Georgia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined to 8.5 percent in November, down two-tenths of a percentage point from 8.7 percent in October. The rate was 9.5 percent in November a year ago.
"This is the lowest state unemployment rate in nearly four years, since it was 8.5 percent in January 2009," said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. "Once again, the rate dropped because of continued job growth and fewer new layoffs."
In Newton County, the unemployment rate dropped one-tenth of a percentage point from last month, to 9.4 percent. While the month-to-month job gains were small, totaling less than 30, year to year the story is much more hopeful. In November 2011, the unemployment rate was 10.7 percent in Newton County, representing 5,195 unemployed workers versus the current 4,592.
In Rockdale County, the unemployment rate also dropped one-tenth of a percentage point, to 9.2 percent. Last year at this time, the unemployment rate was 9.8 percent, with 4,102 unemployed, versus the current 3,919.
Statewide, the number of jobs increased to 3,984,000, up by 9,600, or two-tenths of a percentage point, from 3,974,400 in October, reported the Georgia Department of Labor. The monthly growth came mostly in trade, transportation, and warehousing; educational services; information services; local government; financial services; and manufacturing. The overall job growth was strong enough to offset losses in some sectors. Construction was down 4,000 jobs; leisure and hospitality, down 2,700; professional and business services, down 2,100; and other services, down 1,100.
Over-the-year growth remains consistent, showing an increase of 61,900 jobs since November 2011.
"I am encouraged by the continuing growth in the number of manufacturing jobs in Georgia," said Gov. Nathan Deal. "This is a result of focusing on a pro-business environment and working closely with Georgia employers to help them grow their businesses, while actively recruiting new industry to our state."
The number of initial unemployment insurance claims declined to 47,351, down by 4,114, or 8.0 percent, from 51,495 in October. This is the lowest number of claims for November in seven years. The number of initial claims was down over the year, dropping by 10,222, or 17.8 percent, from 57,573 in November 2011. Most of the over-the-year decline came in manufacturing, construction, administrative and support services and trade.
The number of long-term unemployed workers declined to its lowest level in 32 months, dropping 4,100 from October to 202,600 in November. The long-term unemployed -- those out of work for more than 26 weeks -- make up 49.5 percent of those unemployed in Georgia.
Georgia's labor force continues to grow, reaching 4,800,345 in November, its highest level since February 2009.