GAINESVILLE - First-time claims for unemployment insurance in Georgia were down in December compared to a year ago by 20.2 percent, according to the state Department of Labor. Meanwhile, with Gainesville again leading the way, the number of new jobs created in the state was up 1.8 percent.
Labor Commissioner Mark Butler says only Hinesville, among the 14 metropolitan areas in Georgia, recorded an increase in claims last month - 7.6 percent. Gainesville, Athens and Atlanta were right in the middle of the pack, with Gainesville recording 23.1 percent fewer, Athens, 20.7 percent and Atlanta, 18.3. Dalton had the best showing, a decline of 46.7 percent.
As for job gains and losses in December, Butler says metro Gainesville had the biggest percentage increase compared to a year ago - 3.6 percent, or 2,700 new jobs. Athens was a distant second at 1.7 percent, or 1,400, followed by metro Atlanta, 1.6 percent. The worst showing was in Dalton, where 1,500 jobs were lost, a 2.4 percent decline. Three other metro areas in the state lost jobs as well: Warner Robins, Columbus, and Augusta.