Forsyth County inches in ahead of Cherokee at 6.5 percent. The Cherokee rate is down from 7.4 percent in December 2011.
Cherokee’s labor force saw an increase of 304 people from November to December to 115,307 and more people out of work at 7,935, compared to 7,396 in the previous month.
Misti Martin, executive director of Cherokee County Office of Economic Development, said she thinks the community is fortunate to have such a low rate.
“It’s great that so many of our residents already have jobs,” Martin said. “I’m sure a lot of other counties would love to have 6.9 percent. I would also think slight fluctuations like that are going to happen throughout the year.”
Martin said her office is busy at work putting together the county’s 2012 Year in Review, which will be presented at the Feb. 7 Good Morning Cherokee breakfast sponsored by the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce.
In compiling the data, Martin said she recognized that Cherokee has an educated workforce, which she said could attribute to the unemployment number historically being relatively low.
“All of our indicators are positive, both our activity numbers and existing industry and expansion,” Martin said. “Our companies are starting to add jobs, so I think that should help those unemployment numbers too. We definitely feel that we’re gaining momentum.”
According to preliminary figured from the Georgia Department of Labor, Cherokee’s increase closely reflects the increase in metro Atlanta to 8.4 percent from 8 percent a month earlier.
The state agency said the rate rose because of a combination of factors–a slight increase in initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits and an increase in the labor force, as more people began searching for work in December.
The labor department said there were 115 more new claims for unemployment benefits in construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing and accommodations and food services. The claims rose from November to December, but were down by 4,916, or 18.3 percent, from December a year ago.
The labor force increased by 6,174, rising from 2,749,348 to 2,755,522 in December. The new jobseekers, which includes those employed or actively searching for a job, are counted as unemployed until they get work.
Meanwhile, Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 8.6 percent in December, up from 8.5 percent in November. The rate was 9.4 percent in December 2011.
Other area unemployment rates include: Bartow at 8.6 percent, Clayton at 10.6 percent, Cobb at 7.6 percent, DeKalb at 8.9 percent, Douglas at 8.8 percent, Fulton at 9.3 percent, Gwinnett at 7.6 percent, Henry at 8.7 percent, Paulding at 8 percent and Rockdale at 9.6 percent.