Floyd County’s unemployment rate drops in August
Unemployment in Rome and Floyd County dropped from 4.7 percent in July to 4.2 percent in August, however data from the Georgia Department of Labor indicates that more than 500 fewer Floyd County residents were actually working in August than the preceding month.
The state labor office explained that the local labor force also went down by almost 800 workers from July to August. One of the reasons for the decline in the labor force, according to Labor Commissioner Mark Butler, was the return of older high school and college students to the classroom.
Many economists have long considered five percent unemployment to be tantamount to full employment, which can create some challenges for the Rome and Floyd County economic development team.
“We do share with our prospective employers that it is a tight but not impossible market for employment,” said Rome Floyd Chamber President Al Hodge. He said that his team also shares the strong workforce potentially in the pipeline at the Floyd County College and Career Academy and local colleges.
Hodge said that companies currently considering Floyd County for new plants are being encouraged to pay wage that is much higher than has been discussed in the past.
“Our minimum threshold for incentives is $10.50. What we are sharing with prospective employers is a minimum of $16.50 and we’re working with companies now, discussing $21 an hour in one case and $25 an hour with another,” Hodge said. The Chamber leader said that part of the reason for the $21-$25 an hour talks is to help attract new workers to the area.
While the number of people in the workforce and the number of people actually on a job was down, Butler reported the community could take heart in the stability of the job market since the number of initial claims for unemployment insurance were down by 45 percent from July to August.
The unemployment rate for all of the contiguous counties was also down from July to August. Bartow dropped from 3.8 to 3.6 percent, Gordon County dropped from 4.3 percent to 3.6 percent, Chattooga County fell from 4.1 to 3.7 percent, Polk dropped from 4.2 to 4 percent and Walker County was down from 4 percent to 3.6 percent.