The countywide jobless rate for December was 9.8 percent, up from 9.4 percent in November,
The increase is troubling in that unemployment typically declines in December due to hiring in the retail sector. The labor report indicated that 304 fewer Floyd County residents were on a job in December, and the labor force also lost 97 potential workers.
The only silver lining in the report is that Floyd’s current jobless rate is better than the 10.5 percent it was in December 2011
Most of the counties across Northwest Georgia also experienced increases during December, with Chattooga and Walker counties hit the hardest. Across the 15-county region, the unemployment rate jumped from 8.4 to 9.0 percent.
In Chattooga County, the jobless rate jumped from 10.3 to 12.8 percent, while in Walker County the rate went up from 6.4 to 8.3 percent.
Floyd County Commission Chairman Irwin Bagwell said he’s disappointed in the numbers.
“We do know that we have increased employment due to expansion at several plants,” Bagwell said. “The numbers, they’re real confusing to us because we see one thing — jobs being created and filled — then you get numbers like that and wondering what’s going on?”
Bagwell said he takes heart in the fact that Lowe’s Regional Distribution Center is hiring and has started its first round of training at the new center in Shannon.
“They are supposed to start up early in the spring and then continue to fill jobs throughout the year,” said Bagwell.
Al Hodge, president and CEO of the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce, said he hopes the data is a reflection of seasonal trends and not something more serious. He said Lowe’s is expected to ramp up its hiring this quarter and Foss Manufacturing also is starting to take on workers.
“They should help stabilize and grow the jobs in Rome and Floyd County,” Hodge said.
AROUND THE STATE:
Georgia's unemployment rate in December 2012 was listed as 8.8 percent with Metro Atlanta’s unemployment rate slightly lower than the state average but still rising from 8 percent in November to 8.4 percent in December, a not-uncommon increase at year’s end as retailers and schools trim payrolls, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Other Metro Atlanta counties also saw their unemployment rates rise. Cherokee County saw a slight uptick in its unemployment rate from 6.4 percent in November to 6.9 percent in December, but it still remains the envy of counties throughout the state as the second-lowest in the metro region.
Forsyth County inches in ahead of Cherokee at 6.5 percent. The Cherokee rate is down from 7.4 percent in December 2011, according to the Cherokee Tribune.
In South Georgia, Albany's unemployment rate ticked upwards for December to 9.7 percent in December, up five-tenths of a percentage point from 9.2 percent in November. The rate was 9.8 percent in December 2011, according to the Albany Herald.
The Albany unemployment figures include Dougherty, Lee, Worth, Terrell and Baker Counties.
Northeast Georgia's claims rose to 8.0 percent in December, up five-tenths of a percentage point from 7.5 percent in November. The rate was 8.7 percent in December 2011.
The Athens area had the lowest area jobless rate at 6.6 percent, while the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 11.4 percent. The rate for the Gainesville area was 6.9 percent, up from 6.4 percent for November, according to AccessNorthGeorgia.com.