COVINGTON, Ga. — Newton County began the new year with the unemployment rate increasing among its residents from the previous month as more made themselves available for work and more were classified as jobless.
However, January typically includes an unemployment rate increase as retailers eliminate their end-of-year holiday retail positions.
The jobless rate for Newton County residents increased from 3.1% in December 2021 to 3.6% in January 2022.
A total of 436 more Newton residents entered the labor force in January, with 143 additional residents listed as employed and 293 more residents classified as unemployed compared to the previous month, the Georgia Department of Labor reported.
January’s numbers still were better than January 2021 when 1,457 fewer residents were in the workforce and more than 900 additional residents were listed as unemployed.
Neighboring counties’ January 2022 unemployment rates among their residents included Rockdale, 3.9%; Henry, 3.5%; Butts, 3.0%; Morgan, 2.8%; Walton, 2.8%; and Jasper, 2.7%.
The 29-county metro Atlanta region — which includes Newton — recorded a 3.3% unemployment rate, up from 2.8%.
The statewide average also was 3.3%.
Oconee County recorded the lowest January rate at 2.1% while Clay County in southwest Georgia had the highest rate at 9.5%.
Despite the increase, metro Atlanta saw all-time highs in labor force and number of employed for the month of January, officials said in a news release.
“Even though we continue to see Georgia’s workforce be successfully employed in record-breaking numbers, there is still much more work to do as we continue to see hundreds of thousands of jobs needed to be filled,” said state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler.
The labor force increased in Atlanta by 20,719 and ended the month at an all-time high of almost 3.2 million. This number is down 30,535 since January 2021.
The number of employed was up 5,992 to 3.09 million, an all-time high, in January from December 2021. From January 2021 to January 2022, the number of employed was up 149,363.
The number of unemployed was up 14,727 to 104,754 from December. From January 2021 to January 2022, the number of unemployed was down 54,904.
Metro Atlanta ended January with almost 2.9 million jobs. Jobs were down 22,200 (0.8%) over the month and up 164,900 (6%) over the year. Job numbers were at an all-time high in Information, 114,700, Financial Activities, 191,600, and in the Health Care and Social Assistance sectors, 315,600.
The sectors with the most over-the-month job gains included Professional, Scientific and Technical Services, 4,000, Finance and Insurance, 1,100, Wholesale Trade, 1,100, Health Care and Social Assistance, 900, and Repair and Maintenance, 700.
A total of 296 Newton County residents also applied for unemployment benefits in January 2022 — a 41% increase from 210 in December 2021 but a 74% decrease from January 2021, according to the department.
By comparison, the number of initial unemployment claims went up by 55% in the metro Atlanta region in January. When compared to January 2021, claims were down by about 80%.