Newton, Rockdale jobless rates lower than one year ago

COVINGTON -- Newton and Rockdale unemployment rates increased in January over the December rate but are lower than a year ago, the Georgia Department of Labor is reporting.

The Newton County unemployment rate was at 11.2 percent for January, with a labor force of 48,624, with 5,436 unemployed. In December the rate was 10.9 percent. In January 2011, it was nearly a full percentage point higher, at 12.1 percent.

Rockdale's unemployment rate is 10.3 percent, with a labor force of 41,854 and 4,294 unemployed. The rate is an increase from December's 9.9 percent and a decrease from January 2011, when it was reported at 11.8 percent.

Local area unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted to account for seasonal workers.

Meanwhile, Georgia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined for the sixth month in a row to 9.2 percent in January, the lowest rate since March of 2009 when it was 9.1 percent. That is a decline of two-tenths of a percentage point from a revised 9.4 percent in December. The jobless rate was 10.1 percent in January a year ago.

Statewide, the rate went down because about 13,000 more Georgians were employed in January than in December. Also, newly revised numbers show that Georgia gained 83,700 jobs in the last 12 months. This is the largest January to January job growth since 2006.

Among the sectors showing growth over the year, professional and businesses services gained 37,000 jobs, retail trade gained 15,100, health care and social assistance grew by 11,100, and manufacturing gained 7,300.

Newton and Rockdale unemployment rates, along with the state of Georgia, remain higher than the national rate.

The national unemployment rate for January, not seasonally adjusted, was 8.8 percent. The seasonally adjusted rate was 8.3 percent.