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Posted: March 13, 2014 12:40 p.m.

Holiday job losses bump up unemployment rate

Newton County’s unemployment rate increased by half a percent to 8.5 percent in January as an estimated 468 locals lost jobs, likely due to the loss of seasonal jobs added during the holiday shopping season.

Newton County’s unemployed residents increased from 3,800 in December to 4,027 in January, and that was with the labor force decreasing by 241, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.

The county is still in better shape that it was a year ago, as 592 more people are employed this year compared to January 2013.

The number of initial unemployment insurance claims was 644 in Newton County, down from 759 in December.

Metro Atlanta’s unemployment increased to 7.2 percent in January, up from 6.8 percent in December, primarily because of the loss of 39,700 seasonal jobs, according to a labor department press release.

The labor department said Atlanta lost 12,500 jobs in trade, transportation and warehousing, 9,800 jobs in professional and business services, 5,000 jobs in leisure and hospitality, 3,900 in education and health care, 2,900 in construction and 2,000 in manufacturing.

The state as a whole actually saw its unemployed drop one-tenth of a percent to 7.3 percent in January; however, the total number of jobs decreased by 56,200. The labor department said the job losses in January were smaller than past years.

“While we had the traditional December to January job loss, Georgia actually had 80,800 more jobs than in January a year ago, which is a strong gain,” said Butler. “And, our employers are adding jobs in several important industries.”

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