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North Fulton unemployment rate lower than state, national average
by Joan Durbin
jdurbin@neighbornewspapers.com
June 09, 2012 11:08 AM | 2436 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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As the rest of the county and the state endure uncomfortably high unemployment levels, in the last six months north Fulton has consistently racked up much lower numbers.

Roswell and Alpharetta have run neck and neck for the lowest unemployment rates in Georgia cities with populations exceeding 50,000.

April’s number in Roswell, 6.3 percent, was the lowest of all cities of that size in the state.

“The short answer for our low unemployment is that our citizens have a very high educational attainment and high occupational skill levels,” said Roswell Economic Development Manager Bill Keir. “They mostly work outside of the city in the Atlanta metro area. They are generally very employable.”

Brandon Beach, executive director of the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce, agreed that many north Fulton residents work outside their home turf.

“Traffic is bad whether you’re going up or down Ga. 400 in the mornings,” he said. “But while we export labor, we also import quite a bit of labor.”

He believes north Fulton’s low unemployment rates are partly reflective of the Chamber’s efforts to bolster the local business community.

“Our economic development team has been proactive in business expansion, business retention and recruiting new businesses for north Fulton,” he said.

Barbara Duffy, executive director of North Fulton Community Charities, said the agency welcomes any improvement in the job market in north Fulton and hope that it continues.

“We have seen about a 5 percent drop in assistance requests since the beginning of the year. However, the families we are seeing tend to have a higher level of need than before,” she said.

“We see many who are under-employed. We are seeing men and women who have found jobs at a lower level than their previous employment, often without benefits, and they are struggling to adjust their family budget to the new reality. Others have found part time work and are still looking for full time opportunities.”

Some adults have pieced together more than one part time job into a complex work schedule, and some have returned to school or job training programs, incurring new debt, to improve their chances to find work, she said.

Families who have been unemployed for many months often have built up significant debt that will take a long time to fully recover, according to Duffy. Many of the families NFCC sees will be the last to recover.
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