Unemployment in Catoosa County, Georgia dropped last month to its lowest level since the summer of 2001 as north Georgia continued to add jobs faster than the growth in the labor market.
The Georgia Department of Labor said today that the jobless rate in Catoosa County fell by four tenths of a percentage point during November to a mere 2.8 percent. That's the lowest rate for Catoosa County since the summer of 2001.
In neighboring Dade County, the jobless rate fell by three tenths of a percentage point to 3.1 percent, while unemployment declined by seven tenths of a percent last month in Walker County to 3.2 percent.
The monthly county figures are not seasonally adjusted, but the jobless rates in three North Georgia counties included in the Chattanooga metropolitan area were all below the comparable U.S. unemployment rate of 3.5 percent last month.
Across Georgia, the non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate last month fell by a tenth of a percent to 3.5 percent — a 17-year low.
"This really has been a great year for Georgia," Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in today's jobs report. "Across the state we continue to add jobs and find people to fill them. We've routinely set records."
In metro Dalton, the jobless rate declined by two tenths of a percentage point to 4.2 percent, although unemployment remained above the 4 percent low reached this fall. Among Georgia's 14 metro areas, only Albany and Warner Robbins had higher unemployment rates last month than in metro Dalton.
Unemployment in Dalton has dropped to less than a third of the 13.6 percent peak reached eight years ago during the depths of the Great Recession. But metro Dalton is one of the few metro regions in the United States that has yet to regain even 90 percent of the jobs it previously had.
The 58, 576 workers in the Dalton area who were on the job last month was still down 11.4 percent from Dalton's peak employment of 66,086 reached at the end of 1999.
The mills that produce the floorcovering materials that make Dalton America's "Carpet Capital" require far fewer workers than they did two decades ago.
The labor force in Dalton went down by 389 in November to reach 61,125. But the number of workers on the job or looking for work was still up by 364 from the same time a year ago – an average monthly increase of about 30.
Dalton lost 211 employed residents in November, bringing the total to 58,576. The number is still up by 1,071 for the year, or about 90 per month.
Claims for unemployment insurance in metro Dalton increased by 56 percent in November. They were up by 44 percent when compared to the same month a year ago.
Employ Georgia, the GDOL's online job listing service at employgeorgia.com showed 404 active job postings in metro Dalton for November.
Metro Dalton includes Whitfield and Murray counties.