published Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Georgia counties lead dip in joblessness

Area County Unemployment


Lowest

Dade, 6.3 percent

Catoosa, 6.7 percent

Hamilton, 7.4 percent

Walker, 7.5 percent

Highest

Polk, 12.7 percent

Murray, 12.3

Rhea, 12.1 percent

Whitfield, 11.3 percent

Meigs, 11.3 percent

Sources: Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Georgia Department of Labor

Unemployment in the Chattanooga area fell to the lowest level in three years in November led by job gains south of the border.

The Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday that unemployment in Dade County fell to 6.3 percent—the second-lowest rate among Georgia’s 159 counties—while Catoosa County’s jobless rate dipped to only 6.7 percent and Walker County’s jobless rate dipped to 7.5 percent. Employment in the North Georgia counties in Chattanooga’s metropolitan area grew at a healthy 3.1 percent pace over the past year.

Natonwide, employment is up 1.2 percent in the past year and November’s jobless rate for the U.S. as a whole was 8.6 percent.

“We haven’t had any major new industry come to Dade County, but we’re working on that and hope we can get something in 2012,” said Ted Rumley, Dade County’s executive. “A lot of people are back to work now, although many are working for less pay than they used to receive.”

The drop in joblessness in Dade County comes two years after the county’s biggest employer—the Shaw Industries' Trenton spinning mill—shut down and eliminated 430 jobs.

The prolonged housing slump has claimed other carpet industry jobs and helped keep unemployment in the self-described carpet capital of the world in Dalton at the highest rate among Georgia’s 14 metro areas.

In November unemployment declined in metro Dalton to 11.8 percent. But over the past year, metro Dalton still lost 3,400 jobs, or 5.1 percent of its employment.

In Southeast Tennessee, however, most counties showed job gains and lower unemployment rates in the past year. Hamilton County boasted the lowest jobless rate at 7.4 percent in November, the county’s lowest level since December 2008, according to figures released by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

“I do think the job market is getting better and there are more opportunities,” said Steven Hodge, a school bus driver who was filing for unemployment benefits Thursday during the three-week long shutdown of local schools. “I’m hoping to find something and my sister who had been unemployed for two years just landed a job with Amazon.”

Dr. Bill Fox, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Tennessee, said Tennessee’s manufacturing-based economy is rebounding faster than the U.S. average. But he still expects only “slow, modest growth” in jobs over the next year.

“The November numbers were very encouraging, but we still have a long way to go to get back to where we were before the recession,” he said.

about Dave Flessner...

Dave Flessner is the business editor for the Times Free Press. A journalist for 35 years, Dave has been business editor and projects editor for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, city editor for The Chattanooga Times, business and county reporter for the Chattanooga Times, correspondent for the Lansing State Journal and Ingham County News in Michigan, staff writer for the Hastings Daily Tribune in Nebraska, and news director for WCBN-FM in Michigan. Dave, a native ...

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Wilder said...

The unemployment rate in N. Ga. can be directly tied to the greased palms of politicians.If we elected people that actually represented our collective interest, the government would enforce our immigration laws. It will only get worse, until people wake up to the extent of political corruption, and throw the bums out of office.

December 23, 2011 at 10:47 a.m.
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