ATLANTA - Newton and Rockdale counties' unemployment rates in January increased slightly from December but decreased year over year.
The Georgia Department of Labor released preliminary unemployment rates in January for counties this week. Newton's rate was 10.1 percent, up from 9.8 percent in December, but an improvement from January 2012, when it was 11.5 percent.
Rockdale's rate was 10 percent, also an increase from the 9.6 percent in December but better than the 10.6 percent in January of last year.
The rates are not seasonally adjusted to account for seasonal workers.
The state seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for January was 8.7 percent, unchanged from December. The rate was 9.3 percent in January a year ago, the Department of Labor reported.
There was a loss of 47,700 mostly seasonal jobs and an increase in initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits over the month, but the increases were not enough to impact the unemployment rate, according to the Department of Labor.
"The good news in this report is that we lost the fewest jobs for January since 1987," said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. "And, we start the year with 79,600 more jobs in January than we had in the same period a year ago."
The number of jobs increased to 3,956,300 from 3,876,700 in January 2012. Most of the over-the-year job growth came in professional and business services; leisure and hospitality; education and health care; trade, transportation, and warehousing; and manufacturing.
The number of first-time claims for unemployment insurance benefits, resulting from layoffs during the month, increased by 20,669 to 71,530 from 50,861 in December. The increase is mostly from seasonal layoffs in manufacturing, administrative and support services, construction and retail trade. However, the number of initial claims was down by 6,226, over the year, dropping from 77,756 in January 2012. Most of the over-the-year decline came in manufacturing, retail trade, construction, accommodations and food services, and transportation and warehousing.
Georgia's labor force grew by 15,704, reaching 4,846,362 in January, its highest level since July 2008. The labor force has grown by 54,127, or 1.1 percent, from 4,792,635 in January 2012.
The number of long-term unemployed workers declined by 3,700 to 191,300 in January, its lowest level in 35 months. The long-term unemployed--those out of work for more than 26 weeks--make up 45.2 percent of those unemployed in Georgia.