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Local unemployment rate on the rise
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The unemployment rate rose slightly in Newton County in January, climbing back above 10 percent.

Newton County saw an increase of 142 unemployed people in January for a total of 4,936, bringing the unemployment rate up to 10.1 percent, according to the monthly unemployment estimates released by the Georgia Department of Labor.

Overall, there were 177 fewer people working in January than in December, for a total employment of 49,003.
January is the first time the rate has climbed above 10 percent in Newton County since August 2012. Despite the bad news, the county is still in a lot better shape than it was a year ago when the rate was 11.5 percent.

Metro Atlanta’s jobless rate also rose by the same amount to 8.7 percent in January, because of a loss of seasonal jobs and an increase in new layoffs, the state labor department said.

The state said most of the new unemployment “claims were filed in construction, manufacturing, trade, transportation and warehousing, administrative and support services, and accommodations and food services.”

However, the Atlanta area still had 2.8 more jobs than at the same time last year.

“Over the year, job increases came mostly in professional and business services, 18,000; trade, transportation, and warehousing, 13,600; leisure and hospitality, 12,000; and health care and social assistance, 10,700,” a state press release said.

Georgia’s overall unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.7 percent.

Newton County continued to lag behind its neighboring counties — though most also saw unemployment increases — as Rockdale was at 10 percent, Walton at 8.5 percent, Morgan at 8.1 percent and Henry at 9 percent. However, Butts County had an 11.3 percent rate, up significantly from its 10.1 percent rate in December.