More than 900 Newton County residents found work and those filing for unemployment benefits for the first time decreased between June and July.
But more Newton residents also reported being jobless which increased the July unemployment rate compared to June, the state’s labor department reported.
Newton County’s unemployment rate was 8.7% in July, up 0.2% from 8.5% in June, according to numbers released by the Georgia Department of Labor today.
It was much higher than the pre-COVID-19 pandemic rate of 4.2% in July 2019, but was a significant drop from 12.5% in April of this year when employers reacted to safety concerns around COVID-19.
A total of 121 Newton residents added themselves to the county’s labor force in July. Labor force is the total of those either working or making themselves available for work.
The number of employed residents rose by 914 but the ranks of unemployed Newton residents swelled by 207 between the two months, the department reported.
Initial claims for unemployment insurance dropped by almost 20% — from 6,191 in June to 4,980 in July.
Newton County’s jobless rate exceeded Georgia’s rate of 7.6%, but the county was significantly lower than the national rate of 10.2% in July.
The county's unemployment rate was lower than neighboring Rockdale and Henry counties, which both were at 9.2%. But Newton’s rate was much higher than other neighboring counties, including Butts (7.4%), Jasper (5.6%), Morgan (6.5%), and Walton (6.2%).
Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said Georgia’s statewide unemployment rate of 7.6% in July was 2.6% lower than the national rate of 10.2%. Georgia’s rate has decreased 5% since April.
Butler said the number of Georgia’s jobs significantly increased between June and July. The labor force increased by 60,000 and was up 95,000 since April, and the number of employed increased 55,000, up 331,000 since April.
“The numbers to focus on for the July report are the positives in labor force increase and especially the number of individuals who actually gained employment,” Butler said in a news release.
“I believe you will soon see a gradual decrease in the unemployment rate as employment catches up with increases in labor force,” he said.
After 17 consecutive weeks of more than 100,000 initial claims throughout Georgia, claims numbers dropped below 100,000 for a fourth consecutive week.
For the week ending Aug. 15, initial claims totaled 58,099, down 4,236 from the prior week.
By comparison, the number of initial unemployment claims filed throughout the U.S. for the week ending Aug. 15 was 1,106,000, an increase of 135,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 971,000, the labor department reported.
I believe you will soon see a gradual decrease in the unemployment rate as employment catches up with increases in labor force.Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler