The DOL report indicated the number of unemployed Floyd County residents rose by 408 from 4,601 in December to 5,009 in January. The January increase is not altogether unusual in that it traditionally reflects a loss of seasonal jobs in the retail sector following the holiday shopping season.
Bartow, Gordon, Polk and Whitfield counties all registered an increase in the jobless rate in January, while Chattooga and Walker counties actually saw declines.
Regionally, the 15-county Northwest Georgia region saw an increase from 8.8 percent in December to 9.3 percent in January.
The DOL indicates that the claims load in the manufacturing sector in Floyd County more than doubled from December to January but could not identify specific manufacturers. The number of unemployment claims filed in the manufacturing sector in December was 379 compared to the 879 claims filed in January.
Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Director Heather Seckman was at a bit of a loss to explain the increase.
“I haven’t heard of anyone laying anybody off,” Seckman said. “Lowe’s is hiring. Kellogg’s added more people. Neaton is hiring more people. F&P is hiring. Even Foss has already started hiring people,” Seckman said.
Rome Mayor Evie McNiece said she realizes a lot of the losses were of a seasonal nature, but she’s also aware that seasonal hiring during the final quarter of 2012 was not as strong as in years past. She is also hoping that numbers from the hiring at the Lowe’s Regional Distribution Center will start showing up soon.
Lowe’s is expected to conduct formal grand opening ceremonies sometime in April.
“A lot of my business clients feel a little more confident, ready to spend a little more, maybe hire a couple more employees, but I don’t have that sense that we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel,” McNiece said. The mayor owns an accounting business in Rome.