The number of Newton County residents with jobs continues to increase, but an influx of new graduates looking for work caused the unemployment rate to jump from 8.6 percent in April to 9.3 percent in May.
Employment in Newton County rose by 106 in May to 44,217, but the labor force — the number of people 16 and older who are employed or actively seeking work — grew faster, increasing by 495 to 48,775, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.
State officials said unemployment rates increased across the state because of seasonal layoffs and new college and high school graduates entering the job market for the first time.
Metro Atlanta and the state experienced the same trends, with Atlanta’s rate increasing from 7.6 percent to 8.2 percent and the state’s rate increasing from 8.2 percent to 8.3 percent.
“Despite the slight increase in the unemployment rate, Georgia employers continued to create jobs for the fourth consecutive month, giving us the largest number of jobs we’ve had since December 2008,” Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in an email. “And, it’s very encouraging that the number of construction jobs has increased for the third consecutive month.”
Construction jobs around the state increased by 2,500; the biggest increase came in leisure and hospitality, which added 5,200 jobs.
Every county surrounding Newton had the same trend; among those counties, Morgan and Walton counties had the lowest unemployment rates at 7.7 percent, while Butts County had the highest at 9.8 percent.
Newton County’s unemployment rate was 9.9 percent in May 2012.
The number of long-term unemployed workers statewide rose for the first time in 12 months in April, increasing by 500 to 177,600, according to a state press release. Long-term unemployed — those out of work for more than 26 weeks — make up 44.2 percent of all unemployed in Georgia.