The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) announced Thursday that Metro Atlanta’s unemployment rate increased to 7.2 percent in January, up four-tenths of a percentage point from 6.8 percent in December. The rate was 8.8 percent in January a year ago.
Cobb County is included in GDOL's metro Atlanta statistics and the unemployment rate is not seasonally adjusted. Last week, GDOL said the state's jobless rate, which is seasonally adjusted, fell to 7.3 percent in January from 7.4 percent in December. Both the state and metro Atlanta trail the national rate, which is at 6.7 percent.
Cobb's unemployment rate for January was 6.4 percent, which is up three-tenths of a percentage point from 6.1 percent in December. The rate was 7.9 percent in January a year ago.
In January, Oconee had the lowest jobless rate among counties in the state at 4.2 percent, followed by Madison (5.4 percent), and then Banks, Columbia and Forsyth at 5.5 percent.
Marietta's jobless rate for January was 7.2 percent, which was up three-tenths of a percentage point from 6.9 percent in December. The rate was 8.8 percent in January a year ago.
Metro Atlanta's January rate rose primarily because Atlanta lost 39,700 mostly seasonal jobs, as the total number of jobs dipped to 2,409,600 from 2,449,300 in December.
Most of the losses came in trade, transportation, and warehousing, 12,500; professional and business services, 9,800; leisure and hospitality, 5,000; education and health care, 3,900; construction, 2,900; and manufacturing, 2,000. Although the metro area lost jobs in January, the loss was considerably less than the average January loss of 44,500 jobs for the last five years.
While the number of jobs declined over the month, it increased by 58,600 since January 2013, when there were 2,351,000 jobs. Most of the annual gains were in trade, transportation, and warehousing, 15,300; leisure and hospitality, 13,500; professional and business services, 12,400; construction, 6,800; education and health care, 6,000; and financial services, 4,100. Government has lost 1,600 jobs.
The number of new layoffs, represented by initial claims for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, decreased in January to 23,323, down by 170, or 0.7 percent, from 23,493 in December. Most of the decline in claims came in accommodations and food services and construction. There were 31,663 claims in January 2013.
Metro Athens had the lowest area jobless rate at 5.4 percent, while the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 9.8 percent.
Georgia labor market data are available at www.employgeorgia.com.