The unemployment rate in the Northwest Georgia region in January was 5.8 percent, up six-tenths of a percentage point from 5.2 percent in December. In January 2016, the rate was 5.7 percent.

The rate rose as the labor force grew and the number of new layoffs increased.

The labor force, which consists of employed residents and those who are unemployed, but actively looking for jobs, grew by 1,632 to 411,608. The number of unemployed residents rose by 2,726 to 23,887, while the number of employed residents decreased by 1,094 to 387,721. Over the year, the number of people in the labor force increased by 10,259, as the number of employed grew by 9,236 and the number of unemployed increased by 1,023.

The number of initial claims for unemployment insurance, a measure of new layoffs, rose by 5,801, or 151.7 percent, to 9.624. Most of the increase came in manufacturing and administrative and support services. However, over the year, claims were down by 656, or 6.4 percent, from 10,280 in January 2016.

Metro Gainesville and the Georgia Mountains region had the lowest area jobless rate at 4.8 percent, while the Three Rivers region had the highest at 7.4 percent.

Meanwhile, Georgia’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for January was 5.5 percent, unchanged from a revised 5.5 percent in December. It was 5.6 percent in January 2016.

Job seekers and employers are encouraged to use the GDOL’s online job listing service employgeorgia.com to search for jobs or recruit new employers. In January, 2,692 new job openings in the Northwest Georgia region were posted on Employ Georgia. Throughout the state, 64,018 new job openings were posted.