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Unemployment in Rockdale, Newton rises as state is ranked 50th in jobless rates

CONYERS – Georgia is currently ranked 50th in the country for unemployment rates, and the jobless rates in Rockdale and Newton counties also ticked up in July.

The Georgia Department of Labor released preliminary statistics indicating that Rockdale County’s unemployment rate in July was 9 percent, representing a .5 percent increase from June’s rate of 8.5 percent. In other words, 3,742 Rockdale residents did not have jobs in July, compared to 3,512 in June. At this time in 2013, Rockdale had an unemployment rate of 9.4 percent.

As for Newton, the DOL data show a preliminary unemployment rate of 9.2 percent in July, which is a significant increase from June’s rate of 8.4 percent. These percentages translate to 4,454 Newton residents not having jobs in July, while 4,045 were without work in June. However, these numbers are still lower than this point a year ago when 4,880 residents did not have jobs.

The DOL determines unemployment rates and numbers by subtracting the employment rate from the labor force numbers. The employment rate is defined by the number of residents in an area who are employed, while the labor force is the number of residents who are able to work, but may or may not be employed.

Rockdale’s preliminary labor force in July was 41,635, and the number of people employed was 37,893. In June, Rockdale’s labor force was 41,463, while 37,951 people were employed, the DOL reported.

Preliminary data for Newton County show a labor force of 48,387 in July with 43,933 being employed versus 44,001 employed persons the previous month out of a labor force of 48,046.

Sam Hall, director of communications for the state DOL, stated in a press release that seasonal aspects may be playing a role in the unemployment spike.

“The July rate increase is primarily due to seasonal factors, such as temporary layoffs in educational services and manufacturing,” he stated. “However, most of the laid-off workers have returned to their jobs.”

Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for July was 7.8 percent, which is up from June’s rate of 7.4 percent. Although the state’s unemployment rate has gone up in the past month, Georgia’s unemployment rate is down from this point last year when the rate was 8.3 percent.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in the country at 2.8 percent, and Mississippi has the highest with 8 percent unemployment.