Metro Atlanta’s jobless rate jumps in December

Metro Atlanta’s unemployment rate jumped to 8.4 percent in December from 8.0 percent in November as more people began searching for work, the state labor department said Thursday.

Atlanta’s labor force — those working as well as those looking for work — increased by 6,174. It rose from 2,749,348 in November to 2,755,522 in December. The new jobseekers are counted as unemployed until they find a job.

The unemployment rate also rose because there was a slight increase in initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits as employers laid off more workers, the state labor department said. The 115 new claims for benefits were in a variety of industries — construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, and accommodations and food services.

While initial claims for jobless benefits increased from November to December, they were down by 18.3 percent from December 2011. That decline led to drop in the jobless rate from a year ago, when it was 8.9 percent.

For the core metro counties in December, Cobb and Gwinnett tied for the lowest rates at 7.6 percent. DeKalb was next with 8.9 percent, followed by Fulton at 9.3 percent and Clayton at 10.6 percent.

Metro Athens had the state’s lowest area jobless rate at 6.6 percent, while the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 11.4 percent.

Last week, the labor department said Georgia’s unemployment rate increased to 8.6 percent in December from 8.5 percent in November. The rate was 9.4 percent in 2011.

Both the metro Atlanta and Georgia rates remain considerably higher than the national rate, currently 7.8 percent.

33 comments Add your comment

No surprise

January 24th, 2013
7:39 am

There are three good reasons that the rate is headed back up, and it will go back above 9.0 in the next couple of months. !) Atlanta’s largest companies are not hiring anyone over 40, 2) mid-size companies don’t take risk anymore, they just want to hang on, and 3) small firms do not have access to capital due to negligible bank loans to get the initial momentum they need to bring on headcount.

In many cases the big companies (First Data, AT&T, NCR, Cox, HD) are turning senior/experienced positions into junior/developmental level jobs. I have had more than 20 interviews in the past year and no offers, and at least four positions were down-graded to bring in a 20-something. A former supervisor of mine who was a finalist for the top technology marketer in the city just 3 years ago, couldn’t find work here in 2012 and has left town. Many others I know/worked with in the 1990s are not getting taken back into work force. The state/labor department/legislature needs to stop giving tax breaks and start providing incentives for firms hiring educated,long-term unemployed and/or those 45+. There are thousands of willful, experienced and successful 40+ people available and ready to jump in and make firms efficient and successful. Atlanta companies had this spirit and willingness to take risks in the 1980s and ’90s, which fueled our growth, but it has lost its focus and drive in the 2000s.


January 24th, 2013
7:58 am

Its Bush’s fault !

Barry Obama, community organizer

January 24th, 2013
8:05 am

“The state/labor department/legislature needs to stop giving tax breaks and start providing incentives for firms hiring educated,long-term unemployed and/or those 45+. ” – No Surprise

Those folks typically aren’t Obama supporters.

“Incentives for firms” is a another phrase for tax break for the evil corporate devil, who was given countless breaks and handouts during the Bush years.


January 24th, 2013
8:08 am

When in doubt, always blame Bush.


January 24th, 2013
8:16 am


Peach Buzz

January 24th, 2013
8:20 am

The word “percent” appears 14 times in this article.


January 24th, 2013
8:22 am

No Suprise,

There is supposed to be a law that provides some protection for workers who are so called ‘older’. Governments look the other way at age discrimination. The reasoning is that older workers make the premiums for the health insurance benefit go up, according to the HR departments and the Health insurers.


January 24th, 2013
8:23 am

No Surprise is on-point. For those very reasons I left the state and found a job elsewhere.


January 24th, 2013
8:35 am

Thank you, Republican state legislators, for ensuring that this state remains in the economic doldrums when the rest of the country is in recovery.

[...] Go to this article [...]


January 24th, 2013
8:57 am

The Big Companies, especially AT&T are only interested in Indians. You can thank Bill Clinton for opening the flood gates on allowing more H-1B Visa workers into this country. Just for the hell of it, change the name on your resume to Ravi, Prasad or Venu and watch how much increased responses you get.

Nathan Deal

January 24th, 2013
9:06 am

“Thank you, Republican state legislators, for ensuring that this state remains in the economic doldrums when the rest of the country is in recovery” – Progress

Progress, what brilliant proposals would you make to attract new businesses to Georgia ?

In your astute assessment, what have Republican state legislators done or not done ?


January 24th, 2013
9:09 am

Every American citizen should drop their land line (house phone) or at least reduce some of the features on the phone until AT&T starts hiring Americans. Here’s a company that does not support it’s citizens so why patronize them. Drop U-Verse. Go to Walmart and buy a streaming device such as RoKu and downsize to watch movies or TV. Stay away from Microsoft products as much as possible. That company too is flooded with Indians. Remember what a disaster Vista was? It was developed by Indians as Microsoft used the H-1B visa laws to bring them here to do the coding.

Dawgie Doo Doo

January 24th, 2013
9:21 am

Black folks will not work when they can receive endless unemployment checks and food stamps

Obama supporter

January 24th, 2013
9:25 am

Where can I get one of the free Obama phones I keep hearing about ?

Does it have free, unlimited minutes?

Native Atlantan

January 24th, 2013
9:30 am

govt keeps printing money and handing it out for those that jump through all the hoops. I could make as much on unemployment as my earnings from my sales job that I have had for many years, but wont go that route. Things better turn around in 2013 or we are all up $hit creek more than we are today. Companies are sitting on hordes of cash but unwilling to invest in their business and hire more folks. This has really become a vicious circle.


January 24th, 2013
9:32 am

When the rate goes down the people that have lost their benefits are non factors. This is a false report that they don’t say or let the public know. I cant wait to get out of GA. I been laid off now for 3 months had countless interviews and finally start on Mon. Yea. People need to use all resources staffing companies internet volunteer.

Steve Forbes

January 24th, 2013
9:36 am

“Companies are sitting on hordes of cash but unwilling to invest in their business and hire more folks. ” – Native Atlantan

What companies do with their money is their business, The current administration in Washington is fostering an anti-business culture in this country through its legislation. Companies are in business to generate a profit, not create jobs.


January 24th, 2013
9:48 am

Until State Republicans develop policies for all Georgia residents we will continue to live in a Klan environment. It is the GOP fostering an anti-business environment by not encouraging more students to get advanced degrees. I’m almost 60 now and getting ready for retirement but if I was a Georgia high school and/or college graduate I would be leaving the state due to the dumbing down of the Georgia work force by the GOP. The GOP wants to support private schools with Georgia tax dollars that discriminate against gays. The GOP has not learned from the days when Christian acadamies were formed to prevent desegregation. The current rednecked GOP will eventually go the way of the rednecked Democrats but unfortunately that’s probably a good 20 years in the future until the older white male bigots die out in the State and can be replaced by brighter people with the goals of advancing Georgia residents educationally and fiscally.


January 24th, 2013
9:57 am

“It is the GOP fostering an anti-business environment by not encouraging more students to get advanced degrees.” – Bobby

Bobby, is that really the GOP’s job?

When the Democrats ran the state with an iron fist for 200 years was Georgia public education really any better?

Nearly every member of the state GOP was a Democrat in recent years, including both governors Perdue and Deal.

Get real and start packing !

Obama voter

January 24th, 2013
10:08 am

Its the Republicans fault I didn’t get an advanced degree.

Meanwhile, I’ll continue to live in Mom’s basement and hope I can find a job in this backward state
with my psychology degree.

I can’t believe these Republicans want me to start paying back my student loans. Thank goodness we have President Obama in The White House who understands the plight of the oppressed.

No surprise

January 24th, 2013
10:10 am

Stop playing the blame game people. This isn’t a political issue at all. It is a short-sighted, pensive management practice and passive approach to running a business, versus being just a slight bit assertive, positive and assuming leadership by example.

People, especially those who have had past success, will be innovative and responsive if challenged and allowed to use the background and experience, plus new technologies available today. Government doesn’t create jobs, companies do.


January 24th, 2013
10:27 am

Companies won’t hire unless they see an uptick in demand. Why add capacity when you already have excess capacity?

There just isn’t enough customer demand in this economy. The government should be doing economic stimulus to create more jobs and get people working and spending again. Let’s get some economic momentum going here. Economists say that government should practice austerity during economic boom, not recession.

This isn’t about economics; it’s politics. The GOP fought every proposed economic stimulus during the past 4 years in hopes of blaming a bad economy on the Dems and recapturing political power. Well, that strategy didn’t work, and here we are.


January 24th, 2013
10:36 am

No surprise-you are right. I live in Midtown and in the past 3 years the workers I see are young twentysomethings, and I am seeing fewer and fewer people in 40’s and 50’s. So what are you supposed to do if you are a job hunting woman in your 40’s? Are we just supposed to die?

Steve Forbes

January 24th, 2013
10:50 am


When you say the government should be doing more economic stimulus, do you mean more borrowing from the future and throwing more tax dollars down a rat hole, like Obama has already done? What good did that do? Where are all the “shovel-ready jobs” he used to talk about?

At some point Obama’s past “stimulus” schemes have to be paid back.

Where do you think that stimulus money comes from?

The national unemployment rate of 7.8% is exactly the same rate it was when he assumed office in January 2009. Its actually higher, but that’s a story for another day.

Neal Boortz

January 24th, 2013
11:00 am

Since the average, run of the mill Obama voter doesn’t earn enough money to actually PAY income tax, money used for government spending might as well grow on trees for all they care.

Its like the Obama “Happy Meal”. You order whatever you want, and the guy in line behind you gets to pay for it.


January 24th, 2013
11:02 am

How’s that Real Deal workin’ out for ya?


January 24th, 2013
11:05 am

@ Neal Boortz

I guess that’s why wealthy states like CT, NJ, NY, and CA vote republican and poor states likes AL, MS, GA, and SC vote democrat. Oh wait…


January 24th, 2013
12:17 pm

Steve Forbes,

What good did the economic stimulus (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) do? Consensus is that the recession would have been much worse without it.

See the Congressional Budget Office’s report to Congress last June, in which the CBO reported that the stimulus created higher economic output and employment than would have been possible without it. Created or saved about 3 million jobs. These are people who are paying taxes instead of collecting unemployment. The’re spending more than they would otherwise, and their additional spending represents income to many other businesses, who in turn spend more, pay more taxes, and on it goes.

Or look at the poll by the Chicago School of Business (not exactly a hotbed of liberal thought) of 40 economists, in which 80% agreed that the unemployment rate at the end of 2010 was lower than it would have been without the stimulus.

Where does the stimulus money come from? Taxes and borrowing, of course. Politicians get to decide the mix.

Notice, by the way, that when governments borrow too much, the interest rates they have to offer on government bonds go up as markets begin to doubt the government’s ability to pay the interest on the bonds. And what’s the current rate on US 10-year bonds? About 1.64%. Compare this to Spain (5%), Italy (4%), or Portugal (4.8%). The market doesn’t seem too worried about our ability to service our debt.

Where are the shovel-ready jobs? Politicians get to decide this, too. Obvious choices would be to simply hire back teachers, firefighters, police officer and others whose jobs have been cut in recent years. Other choices could include fixing roads and bridges that have been decaying through lack of maintenance.


January 24th, 2013
12:28 pm

I keep hearing that everything is good in Shangri-Lanta. (Well, I keep hearing it’s all good in Omerica too). Glad I don’t believe anything I read or hear. YES, I’M CYNICAL.


January 24th, 2013
3:39 pm

Steve Forbes, the Shovel Ready Jobs that you mentioned did work and do something. Everytime I drove about the city I saw crews building or repairing roads and bridges. But it only worked for non american citizens. The only people I saw using those shovels were latinos and hispanics. This initiative did nothing at all to help the average American Citizen.


January 26th, 2013
2:37 pm

Why invest one’s time and money when the rules keep changing to favor political friends.


January 26th, 2013
2:40 pm

Why invest one’s time and money when the rules keep changing to favor political friends. Where the hell does the constitution say that the primary purpose of government is social engineering? All they are supposed to do is enforce contracts, keep the roads up, and manage defense.