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Unemployment drops in Newton, Rockdale

ATLANTA — Employment rates are improving in Newton and Rockdale counties, according to data released this week by the Georgia Department of Labor.

Both counties’ unemployment rates dropped a full percentage point from July to August, according to the DOL. Newton’s unemployment rate dropped from 10.4 to 9.3 percent. The labor force total is 48,354, with 4,477 unemployed. Year-over-year, the employment rate also showed improvement, dropping from 10.2 percent in 2012.

In Rockdale, the rate dropped from 9.7 to 8.7 percent month to month, and dropped from 10.2 percent year-over-year. The labor force total is 41,722, with 3,642 unemployed. County unemployment rates are not adjusted to account for seasonal workers.

Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 8.7 percent in August, down one-tenth of a percentage point from 8.8 percent in July. The rate was three-tenths of a percentage point lower than 9 percent in August a year ago. The decline follows three consecutive months of rate increases.

“The primary reason the rate dropped is that we had a significant reduction in layoffs, in fact, the fewest since September 2007,” said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “Also, we had a small increase in the number of jobs.”

There were 35,503 new layoffs, represented by initial claims for unemployment insurance, 18,603, or 34.4 percent, fewer than in July. Much of the decline came in manufacturing, as workers who were temporarily laid off in July returned to work in August. Fewer claims also came in construction, trade and administrative and support services.

Also, the number of initial claims was down by 10,222, or 22.4 percent, from 45,725 in August 2012. Reductions were mostly in manufacturing, construction, trade and administrative and support services.

There were 4,045,100 jobs in August, up by 3,000 from 4,042,100 in July. Government added 10,700 jobs, as education workers returned to the public schools after the summer vacation. However, the gain was offset somewhat by the loss of 7,700 private sector jobs, mostly in professional and business services.

“The job gains that we normally would have in August, especially in the private sector, occurred in June and July, two months in which we normally lose thousands of jobs,” Butler said. “As far as the overall number of jobs, we are much better off this August than last.”