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Despite the addition of 1,400 jobs in the past year, the unemployment rate in the Dalton, Ga., last month rose from February's level to 6.8 percent — the same rate as a year ago.

The Georgia Department of Labor said today that the jobless rate in metropolitan Dalton in March remained above both the state and nationwide averages. Dalton's unemployment rate of 6.8 percent in March was up four tenths of a percentage point from the previous month and was well above the comparable U.S. jobless rate of 5.0 percent and Georgia's statewide rate of 5.5 percent.

Among Georgia's 14 metropolitan areas, Dalton had the highest jobless rate. The lowest unemployment rate in Georgia last month was in Gainesville at 4.5 percent.

Dalton's jobless rate in March 2015 was also 6.8 percent.

The unemployment rate rose as the number of initial claims unemployment insurance increased by 473, or 31 percent, to 2,000 in March. Most of the increase was in manufacturing. And, over the year, claims were up by 534, or 36.4 percent, from 1,466 in March 2015.

While the rate rose, the number of jobs increased by 700, or 1 percent, to 68,600 from 67,900 in February. Most of the increase came in the service-related industries, including trade, transportation and warehousing, along with state and local government and the goods-producing sector, which includes construction.

Over the year, Dalton gained 1,400 jobs, a 2.1 percent growth rate, up from 67,200 in March 2015. Most of the job gains came in the goods-producing sector, including manufacturing and construction, along with trade, transportation and warehousing.

Also, Dalton's labor force increased by 908 to 61,762.

Although Dalton's unemployment rate rose in March, the jobless rate fell in other Northwest Georgia counties. Unemployment last month declined by three tenths of a percentage point to 5.0 percent in Catoosa County, dropped by six tenths of a percent to 4.9 percent in Dade County and plunged by 1.9 percent to 5.6 percent in Walker County. Unemployment in March rose by six tenths of a percentage point in Whitfield County to 6.7 percent.

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