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Newton unemployment drops
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The unemployment rate in Newton County declined for a second straight month in October, with the rate at 11.4 percent, a .5 percent drop from September, according to information released today by the Georgia Department of Labor.

The unemployment rate for Newton County for September was 11.9 percent. It was at 12.6 percent in August and was 12.1 percent a year ago

Labor Department spokesman Sam Hall said part of the decline could be attributed to fewer people out of work in construction, manufacturing and administrative and support fields. The decline also could be attributed to people leaving the workforce through retirement or because they are discouraged about finding a job.

"(Many) have basically given up for the time being, until people start hiring," he said.

 The unemployment in the metro Atlanta area that includes Newton County also declined in October, by .2 percent to 9.7 percent, according to   the labor department.

 There were 254,874 unemployed workers in metro Atlanta, a decline of 7,397 workers.

But initial unemployment claims for October were up .6 percent statewide from September, and 4.7 percent in Newton County. The number of initial claims has shown a dramatic decline from a year ago. In Newton County, there were 659 initial claims in October, compared with 871 last year, according to the Labor Department.

The statewide seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.9 percent. The statewide unemployment rate had been adjusted downward by .1 percent from the labor department’s previous report.

The national unemployment rate is 9.6 percent. Georgia has exceeded the national rate for 37 consecutive months.

The number of payroll jobs in the state increased by .6 percent, to 3.8 million in October, with the increase occurring in retail, temporary employment agencies, schools and health care. There are 7,200 fewer jobs statewide than in October 2009.

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