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Construction jobs may signal economy uptick
by Noreen Cochran
June 04, 2013 05:54 PM | 800 views | 0 0 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print
There were more people at work in Henry County in April, helping the metro Atlanta jobless rate to fall to 7.6 percent, beating the state rate of 8.2 percent and its own April 2012 rate of 8.5 percent.

Nearly 98,700 county residents went to work in April, compared to about 96,700 a year ago.

Unemployed residents numbered 8,064, down from 9,066 in 2012.

The 1,000 residents represent a percentage point, as the county unemployment rate fell from 8.6 in 2012 to 7.6 in 2013, equaling the metro rate and almost matching the U.S. rate of 7.5 percent.

April is the third month of consecutive decreases in joblessness in the county and metro Atlanta.

Georgia Department of Labor spokesman Sam Hall said the main reason behind the drop is an increase of nearly 13,000 jobs in the metro area’s businesses.

But government jobs went missing as 1,700 metro area positions were eliminated.

“Most of the losses were in local governments, which includes schools,” Hall said. “The overall decline in government jobs, not only in metro Atlanta but the state as a whole, is the result of less funding, a decline in tax revenue and overall cutbacks.”

Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said a bright spot is the addition of 1,400 jobs in construction, which can be seen as a contributor to economic recovery.

“As we look, over-the-year, at construction jobs, we’re seeing our best numbers since 2007, which predates the recession,” he said in a video posted on the department’s YouTube channel.

Sales are increasing in building supplies and real estate agents are reporting a low inventory of houses on the market, Butler said, which will most likely lead to more construction jobs.

“We’ve put together four months in a row where we’ve seen over-the-year growth in construction, which hasn’t happened in a very long time,” he said in an audio statement from the department. “It’s very encouraging to see this industry grow. Construction growth bleeds into a lot of other industries that will help them gain traction.”

In neighboring counties, Fulton has 8.3 percent, Clayton has 9.3 percent, DeKalb is at 8.2 percent, Cobb has 6.9 percent and Gwinnett’s rate is 6.8 percent.

The county’s lowest rate was 1.6 percent in December 1999, Hall said, and its highest was 10.4 percent, reached six times with the most recent in January 2011.

By the numbers

New jobs in metro Atlanta

5,900 professional/ business services

3,700 trade/transportation

2,700 leisure/hospitality

2,400 education/health

services

1,400 construction

Source: Georgia Dept. of Labor

On the web: www.dol.state.ga.us
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