Catoosa, Walker counties reach record low unemployment with addition of 6,558 area jobs in past year

Staff photo by Erin O. Smith / Robert Hensley gets his paperwork organized during a job fair put on by EPIC Talent Solutions Wednesday, August 22, 2018 at the Chattanooga Times Free Press in Chattanooga, Tennessee. There were 49 companies with job openings on hand to speak with job seekers.

Unemployment in Catoosa and Walker counties fell to an all-time low last month as the demand for workers in Northwest Georgia continued to outpace the growth of the workforce.

The jobless rate in Catoosa County fell to 2.3% and unemployment fell to 2.5% in neighboring Walker County during November. That was the lowest jobless rates on record with the Georgia Department of Labor for those counties and helped lower unemployment in the six-county Chattanooga metropolitan area below 3% last month for only the second time in nearly two decades.

"It's a real challenge to get enough workers today with this record low unemployment," said Steven Henry, a Ringgold, Georgia, home builder for the past 23 years who is also chairman of the Catoosa County Board of Commissioners. "If you're not working now, you don't want to because there are jobs out there for just about every skill level there is."