The jobless rate in Carroll County climbed from 8.4 percent in November to a preliminary 8.9 percent in December, according to the unemployment figures released this week by the Georgia Department of Labor. The jobless rate last December was higher, at 9.5 percent. The county-level jobless figures are not seasonally adjusted.
The Carroll County labor force grew by 205 workers, from 52,980 in November to 53,185 in December. The December 2012 figure represents an 840 worker increase from December, 2011, when the job force was 52,345.
“Some of the seasonal job reductions came in the last half of December, based on retailers not seeing the sales level they saw early in the season,” said Dr. Joey Smith, associate professor of economics at University of West Georgia. “Also, more people were moving into the labor force, looking for work, but not finding it yet.”
He said some of the December college graduates may have accounted for some of the labor force increase.
Smith said the slightly higher jobless levels could continue into January, as people stop spending after seeing smaller paychecks, due to the changes in the tax laws that went into effect Jan. 1.
Meanwhile, the increase in the unemployment rate was also felt in the Three Rivers region, which includes Carroll County, and the metro Atlanta area.
Three Rivers unemployment rose from 8.9 percent in November to 9.3 percent in December. The metro Atlanta rate was up to 8.4 percent in December, from 8.0 percent in November.
“The rates rose because of a combination of factors,” said Labor Department spokesman Sam Hall. “There was a slight increase in initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits and an increase in the labor force, as more people began searching for work.”
Metro Athens had the lowest December job rate at 6.6 percent, while the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 11.4 percent.
The seasonally adjusted December jobless rate for Georgia was 8.6 percent, up from 8.5 percent in November, and 9.4 percent in December, 2011.
The U.S. jobless rate was 7.8 percent in December, the same as in November, but down from 8.5 percent in December, 2011.
December unemployment rates for nearby counties, and their comparisons with November 2012, and December 2011:
• Coweta, 7.8 percent in December, up from 7.2 percent in November, and down from 8.4 percent in December, 2011;
• Douglas, 8.8 percent in December, up from 8.4 percent in November, down from 9.4 percent in December, 2011;
• Haralson, 8.5 percent in December, up from 8.1 percent in November, down from 9.0 percent in December, 2011;
• Heard, 9.2 percent in December, up from 8.7 percent in November, down from 10.3 percent in December, 2011;
• Paulding, 8.0 percent in December, up from 7.5 percent in November, down from 8.5 percent in December, 2011;
• Polk, 8.6 percent in December, up from 8.2 percent in November, down from 9.5 percent in December, 2011.