First-time claims for jobless benefits dropped from 505 in January to 372 in February, said Georgia Department of Labor spokesman John Ard.
“Initial claims are considered by economists to be a leading economic indicator because they measure newly unemployed residents,” Ard said.
Most of the decline in claims came in the manufacturing, retail trade, and health care and social assistance sectors, Ard said.
The county’s unemployment rate dipped from 6.5 percent in January to 6.4 percent in February, according to the latest labor department numbers.
Paulding’s jobless rate is down 1.6 percent in the past year, from 8.0 percent in February 2013.
It had a lower rate than all of its neighboring counties except Cobb.
Cobb’s rate was 6.3 percent. Other counties included Bartow and Douglas, 7.3 percent; Carroll, 8.2 percent; Haralson, 8.0 percent; and Polk, 7.5 percent.
Economists consider the unemployment rate to be a “lagging economic indicator” because it measures short-term and long-term unemployment, Ard said.
Paulding’s February rate was lower than the metro Atlanta rate of 6.9 percent; the statewide rate of 7.2 percent; and the nationwide rate of 7.0 percent in February.
The rate in metro Atlanta, which includes 28 counties, declined from 7.1 percent to 6.9 because there were 23 percent fewer new layoffs, the labor department reported.
Paulding’s February 2014 numbers also show fewer had jobs but fewer also were without work, Ard said.
Paulding County residents working in February totaled 67,471, down 118 from 67,589 in January. However, the number unemployed totaled 4,625, a decrease of 78 from January’s 4,703.
The labor force, defined as all county residents working or actively seeking work, decreased from 72,292 in January to 71,993 in February, the department reported.