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Metro Atlanta jobless rate rises to 5.3 percent in January

3/17/2017, 6 a.m.

Metro Atlanta’s unemployment rate rose to 5.3 percent in January as the number of new layoffs increased.

The rate was up three-tenths of a percentage point from 5 percent in December. In January 2016, the rate was 5.2 percent.

The rate rose as the number of jobs and people in the labor force declined plus the increase in the number of new layoffs. These are normal seasonal fluctuations for January, the Georgia Department of Labor said in a March 16 statement.

In DeKalb County, there were 2,435 initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits in January, up 208 or 9.3 percent from 2,227 in December 2016. In January 2016, there were 2,619 initial claims for an over-the-year decrease of 184 or 7 percent.

In metro Atlanta, the number of jobs decreased by 37,000 to 2,698,800. For the previous three years, Atlanta has lost an average of 47,400 from December to January. Job losses came in trade, transportation and warehousing, 15,300; professional and business services, 8,400; government, 4,800; leisure and hospitality, 3,700; education and health services, 2,300; other services, 1,500; construction, 1,400; information, 900; and manufacturing, 400. The only job gainer came in financial activities, which added 1,700 jobs.

Over the year, the number of jobs increased by 96,800, the largest January-to-January job growth on record for Atlanta, representing a 3.7 percent growth rate. That growth came across the board in professional and business services, 21,700; leisure and hospitality, 18,600; trade, transportation and warehousing, 15,000; education and health services, 11,200; construction, 8,600; financial activities, 7,300; information services, 6,100; government, 3,900; manufacturing, 2,700; and other services, 1,600.

The number of initial claims for unemployment insurance, a measure of new layoffs, rose by 5,427, or 38.1 percent, to 19,689. Most of the increase came in manufacturing, administrative and support services, along with trade, transportation and warehousing, construction, accommodations and food services and arts, entertainment and recreation. Over the year, claims were down by 1,535, or 7.2 percent, from 21,224 in January 2016.

At the same time, the labor force, which consists of employed residents and those who are unemployed but actively looking for jobs, declined by 1,171 to 2,983,456. The number of unemployed residents rose by 10,512 to 158,411 while the number of employed residents decreased by 12,283 to 2,825,045. Over the year, the number of people in the labor force increased by 107,289, as the number of employed grew by 98,490 and the number of unemployed increased by 8,799.

Metro Gainesville and the Georgia Mountains region had the lowest area jobless rate at 4.8 percent, while the Three Rivers region had the highest at 7.4 percent.

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.

Job seekers and employers can use GDOL’s Employgeorgia.com job listing service to search for jobs or recruit new employers. In January, 44,235 new job openings in Atlanta were posted on Employ Georgia. Throughout the state, 64,018 new job openings were posted.

Local area unemployment data are not seasonally adjusted. Georgia labor market data are available at dol.georgia.gov.