John Gooch files for unemployment at the Georgia Department of Labor office in Dalton, Ga.Staff File Photo by Margaret Fenton
Despite a decline in Georgia's jobless rate last month, applications for unemployment benefits jumped in Northwest Georgia during October.
Statewide, Georgia's unemployment rate fell to 8.7 percent last month, down three-tenths of a percent from September and a full percent below the 9.7 percent jobless rate of a year ago.
But the Georgia Department of Labor said 118 more people filed for new jobless benefits in Walker County during October, swelling new jobless claims to 550.
Aside from a layoff at Crystal Springs Print Works in Chickamauga, Larry Brooks, executive director of the Walker County Development Authority, didn't know of any concentrated job losses in the county.
He said Old Mill Kettle Corn in Chickamauga is expanding into new space as is United Synthetics in LaFayette.
"We are being as aggressive as we possibly can be [attracting business]," Brooks said. "We're talking to a couple new employers now that are starting to feel out the region."
Catoosa County's claims went up by 56, with 248 applications, up from 192. Dade claims increased by 22, or 48 claims up from 26.
Whitfield County had an increase of 74 claims in October, or 1,279, up from 1,205 in September.
Despite the uptick in unemployment claims, Brian Anderson, the president and CEO of the Greater Dalton Chamber, believes Whitfield County's economy is on the upswing.
"There's good postings being shown for new jobs," Anderson said. "Systematically, the economy continues to improve."
The Dalton area has shed one of every five jobs since the recession hit the carpet industry in 2007. In two public meetings last week at Dalton State College and Dalton City Hall, Michael Chriszt, vice president of the Atlanta Federal Reserve's research department, said many of those jobs won't be coming back.
Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at tomarzu@times freepress.com or 423-757-6651.
Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.