Unemployment in the Dalton, Ga., area jumped in January to the highest level in 12 months as employers cut jobs while the workforce continued to grow.
The Georgia Department of Labor announced today that the jobless rate in metropolitan Dalton in January rose by 1.1 percentage points to 7.1 percent. Dalton had the highest unemployment rate at the start of 2017 of any of Georgia's 14 metropolitan areas and the January rate for metro Dalton was 2 percentage points above the comparable U.S. rate for the same month.
The number of jobs decreased in the Dalton area in January by a net 100, or 0.1 percent, to 69,700. However, over the year, 600 jobs were added, a 0.9 percent growth rate, up from 69,100 in January 2016.
In January, the number of initial claims for unemployment insurance, a measure of new layoffs, more than tripled in metro Dalton to 3,808 as many carpet mills cut back production at the start of the year.
Metro Dalton includes Whitfield and Murray counties.
The jobless rate also rose in other Northwest Georgia counties at the start of 2017 but was much lower in the counties in the metropolitan Chattanooga area than those in the metro Dalton area.
The Georgia labor department said unemployment rose by 0.4 percent in Catoosa County to 5 percent and increased in Walker County by 0.1 percent to 5.4 percent. In Dade County, the jobless rate in January rose by 0.3 percent to 5.3 percent.
The jobless rate jumped 1.2 percent in January in Whitfield County to 6.9 percent and rose in Murray County by 1 percentage point to 7.8 percent.
Dalton's labor force, which consists of employed residents and those who are unemployed, but actively looking for jobs, grew by 1,184 to 63,356. The number of unemployed residents rose by 797 to 4,500, while the number of employed residents increased by 387 to 58,856.
Georgia's seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for January was 5.5 percent, unchanged from a revised 5.5 percent in December. It was 5.6 percent in January 2016.