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The February unemployment report for Rome and Floyd County showed a drop of 0.2% in the jobless rate from January to February. The February rate was down to 3.7% with more than 43,200 Floyd County residents drawing a regular paycheck.

The Georgia Department of Labor also reported that Floyd County based companies showed 42,300 jobs in February, up by 1,200 jobs from January. Again, those are jobs based in Floyd County, but they could be jobs held by people from anywhere across the region.

Remember those numbers. A month from now, the unemployment rate is expected to go up and the jobs number is potentially set for a fall as a result of COVID-19 related layoffs and job slow down.

“Absolutely,” said Rome Floyd Development Authority President Missy Kendrick. She said the silver lining to what she’s been hearing from local employers is that many of them are going to reduced hours and not so much to real layoffs in the manufacturing sector. “They’re cutting hours and it’s allowing them to take advantage of the unemployment benefits that are out there,” Kendrick said.

A new Department of Labor rule requires employers to file partial claims on behalf of full-time employees who work less than full-time hours due to a partial or total company shutdown due to COVID-19.

Employer filed electronic claims generally result in employees receiving their benefit payments quicker, and also mean that impacted employees do not have to report to a DOL Career Center in order to register for employment services.

The report was similar for most of the neighboring counties. Polk County dropped from 3.8% in January to 3.7% in February, and Whitfield County fell from 5.7% in January to 4% in February.

Bartow County held the line at 3.4% in February, unchanged from January. Gordon County was also unchanged month over month at 3.6%, while Chattooga and Walker counties each showed 0.1% increases. Chattooga checked in at 4.9% in February while Walker was at 3.4%.

While Kendrick said that the regional Department of Labor personnel have confirmed that the number of partial claims for unemployment have skyrocketed in the last couple of weeks, the state’s website had more than 500 active job listings in Rome and Floyd County as of Friday afternoon.

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