With the growth of the labor force and an increase in new layoffs, regional and area unemployment rates increased in Georgia for the month of January.
The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) announced Thursday that the unemployment rate in the Northeast Georgia region in January was 5.3 percent, up three-tenths of a percentage point from 5 percent in December. In January 2016, the rate was 5.1 percent.
The labor force, which consists of employed residents and those who are unemployed, but actively looking for jobs, grew by 1,281 to 294,677. The number of unemployed residents rose by 1,051 to 15,659, while the number of employed residents increased by 230 to 279,018. Over the year, the number of people in the labor force increased by 9,933, as the number of employed grew by 8,762 and the number of unemployed increased by 1,171.
The number of initial claims for unemployment insurance, a measure of new layoffs, rose by 856, or 51.9 percent, to 2,505. Most of the increase came in administrative and support services, trade, transportation and warehousing, along with manufacturing and construction. However, over the year, claims were down by 259, or 9.4 percent, from 2,764 in January 2016.
Metro Gainesville and the Georgia Mountains region had the lowest area jobless rate at 4.8 percent, while the Three Rivers region had the highest at 7.4 percent.
GDOL officials said the Gainesville metro jobless rate increased six-tenths of a percentage point from 4.2 percent in December. In January 2016, the rate was 4.5 percent. The rate rose as the number of jobs declined, while the number of new layoffs increased. Labor Department officials said the drops were normal seasonal fluctuations for January.
The number of jobs in the Gainesville metro decreased by 1,200, or 1.4 percent, to 87,500. The job losses came in the service industries, including trade, transportation and warehousing.
Meanwhile, Georgia’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for January was 5.5 percent, unchanged from a revised 5.5 percent in December. It was 5.6 percent in January 2016.