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Cobb Sees Seasonal Slide in Jobs

The county's unemployment rate rose to 8.4 percent in January from 8.1 percent in December.

Cobb County’s unemployment rate rose to 8.4 percent in January as the number of people looking for work in the county rose by almost 1,200, the Georgia Department of Labor reported today.

That preliminary jobless rate is up from a revised 8.1 percent in December but down 1 percentage point from January 2011.

Because the local job numbers are not adjusted for seasonal factors, such as a post-holiday slowdown in retail sales and a winter lull in construction, the most meaningful comparison is with the statistics from a year ago, not a month ago.

Almost 9,500 more Cobb residents were working in January 2012 than in January 2011, the state Labor Department found: 342,612 vs. 333,154.

The January number for Cobb is lower than that the Labor Department reported Jan. 26. But along with the usual refinements that can move the percentage by one or two tenths of a point, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the state agency just conducted an annual benchmarking to improve the job data’s accuracy.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate for the 28-county Atlanta metro area, which includes Cobb, rose from a revised 8.9 percent in December to 9.2 percent in January. That’s down from 10.3 percent a year earlier.

The Labor Department said the rate increased because of layoffs in construction, manufacturing, retail trade, transportation, warehousing, and administrative and support services.

In the 10-county area served by the Atlanta Regional Commission, the January jobless rate was 9.1 percent, up from a revised 8.9 percent in December but down a point from 10.1 percent in January 2011.

Statewide, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped from 9.4 percent in December to 9.2 percent in January, compared with 10.1 percent in January 2011. The state gained 83,700 jobs from January to January, the biggest growth for Georgia since 2006, the Labor Department said.

Professional and business services accounted for the biggest chunk of that growth with 37,000 new jobs, followed by retail trade with 15,100 new jobs, health care and social assistance with 11,100, and manufacturing with 7,300.

The state rate remained above the national rate of 8.3 percent in January, down from 8.5 percent in December and 9.1 percent in January 2011.

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