Newton County’s employment numbers in August provided mixed results for those looking for evidence of an improving economy.
The county saw a big drop in its unemployment rate while the number of county residents filing initial claims for unemployment insurance in August was half of the number seen in July, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.
But the unemployment rate drop apparently was due to fewer residents making themselves available for work rather than more finding jobs in August, the numbers showed.
Newton County’s jobless rate fell from 8.8% in July to 6.6% in August, according to a labor department monthly report released today, Sept. 24.
Georgia’s statewide rate in August was 5.6% — the seventh lowest unemployment rate in the nation. Nationally, the jobless rate was 8.4% in August, the labor department reported.
Newton Countians filing initial unemployment claims fell almost 50%, from 4,980 in July to 2,497 in August.
The number of unemployed Newton residents fell significantly, from 4,518 in July to 3,308 in August.
The number of those with jobs also fell by 236 — from 46,847 to 46,611.
More than 1,400 fewer county residents were in the labor force, which is the total of those either employed or actively seeking work, the department stated. The labor force decreased from 51,365 in July to 49,919 in August.
Labor department officials said the unemployment rate dropped for all metropolitan service areas, regions, and counties in Georgia in August.
Georgia’s August rate was higher than only six states — Nebraska, Utah, Idaho, South Dakota, Vermont, and North Dakota — which had a combined labor force of 4.7 million, less than Georgia’s total of 4.9 million, a news release stated.
“As we continue to rebound from the economic devastation of COVID-19, we have seen our unemployment rate plummet the past several months on the statewide level and across Georgia in all of our cities and communities,” said Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler.
In Georgia, from March 21 through Sept. 12, the sectors with the most regular initial claims processed included Accommodation and Food Services, 896,606, Health Care and Social Assistance, 434,738, Retail Trade, 398,924, Administrative and Support Services, 317,504, and Manufacturing, 289,430, the labor department reported.