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Unemployment continues to drop
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A snapshot of Newton County’s workforce:

Total workforce 47,518
Employed workers 44,061
Unemployed workers 3,457
# of insured employees 20,523*
Total wages $764,828,641*
Average  annual wages $37,233*

*This data is as of Sept. 30, 2013 and are based on people who work in Newton County, not people who live in Newton County.

Newton County’s unemployment continued its fall in 2014, dropping to 7.3 percent in April.

The county’s rate is the lowest it’s been since May 2008, before the nationwide housing market collapse hit.

The number of employed workers only grew by 22 to 44,061, and both the total labor force and unemployed numbers dropped, which could be a sign of long term unemployed people stopping their search for work or deciding not to seek work for other reasons.

In another sign the local job market could simply be holding steady, the number of initial unemployment insurance claims in Newton County increased from 317 in March to 341 in April.

Nevertheless, the unemployment rate has consistently dropped from 8.3 percent in January, and 210 more workers are employed since the beginning of the year, according to Georgia Department of Labor.

Metro Atlanta also saw its unemployment rate decline to 6.5 percent in April as 18,000 jobs were created, with the biggest gains coming in leisure and hospitality (6,300 jobs), professional and business services (5,300) and construction (2,700).

The state’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7 percent; however, that was because the total labor force grew along with employment.

“We had very strong job growth in April, as our employers created 41,300 new jobs, which is the largest March to April increase since 2005,” said Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “And, to make things even better, more jobseekers are entering the labor force and getting hired. This is a stark contrast to what we’re seeing nationally with hundreds of thousands of people leaving the labor force.”

The U.S. Department of Labor announced last week that 806,000 people left the nation’s work force in April.