Bartow’s March jobless rate was 6.7 percent, a decrease from 7.3 percent in February. It also was a steep drop from 8.3 percent in March 2013.
The last time the Bartow jobless rate was at or below 6.7 percent was in May 2008 when it was 6.6 percent, said department spokesman John Ard.
Bartow’s March jobless rate was lower than the metro Atlanta rate of 6.8 percent and Georgia’s statewide rate of 7.0 percent. Metro Atlanta includes 28 counties, including Bartow, which surround the city of Atlanta.
A total of 297 additional Bartow residents found work in March, Ard said. Employed county residents increased from 44,520 in February to 44,817 in March. The number of unemployed residents declined by 254, from 3,491 to 3,237, according to labor department numbers.
In addition, initial claims for jobless benefits dropped by 237 over the month, with 554 initial filings in February and 317 in March, Ard said.
“Initial claims for unemployment benefits decreased in industries including manufacturing, construction and wholesale trade,” Ard said.
In March 2013, 405 initial claims were filed.
March unemployment in surrounding counties included Cherokee, 5.7 percent; Cobb, 6.3 percent; Floyd, 7.2 percent; Gordon. 7.4 percent; Paulding, 6.3 percent; Pickens, 6.8 percent; and Polk, 6.9 percent.
In the 28-county metro Atlanta area, most of the job gains were in trade, transportation, and warehousing; professional and business services; leisure and hospitality; construction; education and health services; and information services, Ard said.