The jobless rate in Rome and Floyd County dipped to 3.5% in April, marking an almost complete turnaround from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic a year ago.

Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the unemployment rate went down in virtually all of the metropolitan statistical areas across the state.

The Rome rate was down 0.2% from March. In April last year, the rate had soared to a high of 13.8% as businesses all over the state were shutting down in response to the coronavirus. The year before, April of 2019, the Rome unemployment was at 3.2%.

Looking behind the numbers released by the Department of Labor Thursday, one sees that the local workforce actually increased in April. The state labor office reported that 44,466 Floyd County residents were either employed somewhere across the region, or actively looking for work in April. That’s an increase of 195 people from the previous month.

Businesses based in Rome and Floyd County reported 40,700 jobs in April. That’s unchanged from March but an increase of some 4,200 from April of a year ago.

Employ Georgia, the GDOL’s online job listing service, showed about 657 active job postings in metro Rome for April.

The jobs page on the Rome Floyd Chamber website listed 159 openings as of Thursday. Thermal Seal Duct has eight vacancies posted there, Neaton Rome has five and VT Industries also has five positions listed.

Rome Floyd Chamber President Jeanne Krueger said the local job listings are all across the spectrum. They include healthcare, education, manufacturing, jobs for high schoo and college graduates. Skilled laborers are needed as well as those without strong skill sets.

Production workers hired on at VT Industries could be eligible for a $1,500 hiring bonus.

“We’ve been hearing about bonuses like that from several of our larger employers,” said Krueger. “And jobs are paying more because of the competitive nature of the market.”

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