Economy

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said last week the unemployment rate fell yet again in Polk County, and this time it sits right in line with others who continue to see tremendous drops in figures.

The county area saw its unemployment rate fall to 4.0 percent and its number of unemployment claims decrease.

The labor force and unemployment remain positive for the year.

"Our communities across the state continue to thrive,” Butler said. “Local economies continue to add jobs and see other indicators like employment and labor force grows over time. It has almost become the routine for some of our local areas to set records.”

The labor force decreased in August by 249 to reach 18,694 total members. The number has climbed by 289 over the past 12 months, about 24 per month.

Polk County lost 194 employed residents in August, bringing its total to 17,949. That number has grown by 507 over the past year, about 42 per month.

So right now, there’s just 745 people on the unemployment rolls as of August. And that number could face additional adjustments by the time reports come out for September later this month.

Initial claims for unemployment were down by about 10 percent for the month and are down by about 8 percent for the year.

The rate in July sat at a revised 4.2 percent, and was at 5.2 percent this time last year.

It’s also the first time in several years the unadjusted rate sat below a neighboring county with a larger population. Floyd County sat at 4.2 percent for August.

Others on Polk’s borders sat even lower, as Haralson and Bartow counties reported a 3.6 percent unemployment rate, 3.2 percent in Cobb and 3.3 percent in Paulding County.

With the rate so low, many people are finding no problem obtaining employment, so long as they meet what employees are seeking for the positions.

Polk County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Blair Elrod said in recent times she’s not heard local business leaders voicing concerns about being able to find valuable help, but they have in the past.

She added one of the biggest issues in the past with getting people into good jobs is that they are unable to meet the full qualifications needed by employers in small businesses.

Development Authority of Polk County President and CEO Missy Kendrick said that with bigger businesses, the challenge is greater in finding qualified help to keep their workforce at capacity.

“We are like many of our surrounding counties in that we have existing industries that have positions that haven’t been filled,” she said. “Our industries rely on word of mouth and job fairs to try and draw workers from outside our immediate area.”