Construction workers earn competitive wages

Construction jobs are paying competitive wages in Rome and Floyd County just to keep good workers. Dalton Erwin (left) and Alex Bing do foundation work in November 2020 on new townhomes being constructed on East Third Avenue.

The latest report from the Georgia Department of Labor shows Rome’s unemployment rate dipped 0.6% to 4.1% in February.

Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said Rome saw positive month-over-month measures for every key indicator.

The local jobless rate was 3.7% a year ago, before the pandemic set in.

This year, the local workforce grew by 586, to 44,462 individuals, from January to February. That number is a combination of Floyd County residents who are on a payroll and the number of people who are registered with the state and actively looking for a job.

The number of Floyd County residents with jobs increased by 841 over the month, but is down by 211 when compared to the same time a year ago.

The number of first-time claims for unemployment assistance filed by Floyd County residents dropped by 39.2% from January to February.

Still, 994 Floyd County workers submitted an initial claim in February. Those are new job losses — people who had not filed an unemployment claim with the state during the preceding 12 months.

Butler, however, focused on the comparison with 2020 in Floyd County and Georgia’s other Metropolitan Statistical Areas.

“February’s numbers are a strong indication the state is getting back to where it was prior to the pandemic,” he said in a press release.

“Not only are we seeing growth for nearly every indicator in each MSA, but we are seeing the momentum start to switch in our favor. The unemployment rates are drastically dropping, the labor force numbers are gearing up, and most importantly, we are seeing initial claims decrease in almost every MSA.”

Rome-based companies ended February with 40,600 jobs. That was up by 300 from January to February, although still significantly lower by some 1,100 from the same time last year.

The unemployment rate across the 15-county Northwest Georgia region dropped from 4.3% in January to 3.7% in February. Catoosa County reported the lowest rate, at 2.6%, while Chattooga County had the highest rate across the region in February, at 5.3%.

Employ Georgia, the GDOL’s online job listing service at employgeorgia.com, showed about 580 active job postings in metro Rome for February.

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