In total, 793 Floyd County residents submitted an application for unemployment assistance last month, up from 608 in November but down from the 1,273 that filed a first time claim in December a year ago.
The economic barometer was similar in each of Floyd’s neighboring counties, except Chattooga, where first time claims were down a modest 1.4 percent from November. Across the 15-county Northwest Georgia region, the claims were up 13.5 percent from November but down 35.6 percent from December of 2011
In Floyd County, the manufacturing and construction sectors suffered the biggest hits in December as 379 claims were filed in
the manufacturing sector, up from 238 in November.
“I don’t even begin to understand that,” said Heather Seckman, director of
economic development at the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce.
She checked with Ken Wright, director of business and industry services, to see if any manufacturers were laying off, and Wright was not aware of any problems either.
“Just when we think we’ve got things beginning to turn around, and then you get numbers like this, it lets you know we’re not out of the woods yet,” said Floyd County Commission Chairman Irwin Bagwell. “This is not the way we wanted to start off the new year.”
First time claims filed in the construction sector numbered 109, up from 86 in November. It’s not unusual for the construction sector to experience a setback in December when the weather tends to cause problems.
“I’m very surprised and dismayed,” said Rome Mayor Evie McNiece. “I’m just taken aback by these numbers.”
Another sector that registered a large increase in initial claims in December was administrative and support services, which jumped from 77 first time claims in November to 98 in December.
The Department of Labor issued 2,721 unemployment checks to out-of-work Floyd County residents in December worth an average of $231.07 per week.