Unemployment rose at the end of 2016 in metropolitan Dalton as the Carpet Capital shed a net 300 jobs last month.
Despite a statewide gain of 17,119 jobs across Georgia during December, the number of persons employed in Whitfield and Murray counties declined slightly last month, boosting the jobless rate in metro Dalton to 6.1 percent.
The Georgia Department of Labor announced today that Dalton's unemployment rate rose two-tenths of a percent in December. Since reaching a springtime low of 5.3 percent, Dalton's unemployment rate has edged gradually higher and remained above both the statewide rate of 5.4 percent and the U.S. rate of 4.7 percent last month.
The jobless rate rose in Dalton as the labor force grew and the number of new layoffs increased.
The labor force, which consists of employed residents and those who are unemployed, but actively looking for jobs, grew by 196 to 61,265. The number of unemployed residents rose by 115 to 3,724, while the number of employed rose by 81 to 57,541.
The number of initial claims for unemployment insurance, a measure of new layoffs, rose by 256, or 27.3 percent, to 1,193 in December. Most of the increase came in manufacturing. Over the year, claims were down by 2,626, or 68.8 percent, from 3,819 in December 2015.
The number of jobs in Dalton decreased by 300, or 0.4 percent, to 68,100. Most of the job losses came in textile manufacturing and local government.
Over the year, 200 jobs were lost, a 0.3 percent job loss rate, down from 68,300 in December 2015. Most of the job loss came in textile manufacturing.