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Ga. unemployment at lowest rate in 5 years

Georgia’s unemployment rate declines to 7.7 percent in November; Lowest rate in five years

ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Labor announced today that Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 7.7 percent in November, its lowest point since November 2008, when it was 7.6 percent. The rate is down four-tenths of a percentage point from 8.1 percent in October and a full percentage point from 8.7 percent in November a year ago. 

“The rate is down because of strong job growth and a very good drop in new claims for unemployment insurance benefits,” said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “The number of new jobs is the best October to November growth since 2007 and the number of new claims is the lowest for any month since September 2007. Both of these numbers pre-date the recession.”

The number of jobs increased by 19,500, or 0.5 percent, from 4,076,000 in October to 4,095,500 in November, the most jobs in Georgia since September 2008. Growth came mostly in trade, transportation and warehousing with 14,700 new jobs. Government added 2,000; financial services, 1,700; construction and education and health care, 1,500 each; manufacturing, 1,000; and information services, 900, along with 100 in other services.      

Over-the year, Georgia gained 91,200 jobs, or 2.3 percent, since November 2012 when there were 4,004,300 jobs. 

“The November to November job growth is the strongest for that period in eight years,” said Butler. “The growth came in several industries, which indicates a broad job market recovery.”

The gains came in professional and business services, 27,400; leisure and hospitality, 20,500; education and health services, 18,600; trade, transportation and warehousing, 16,500; construction, 13,100; and financial services, 5,900.  Government has lost 6,900 jobs in the past year.  

The number of new layoffs, represented by initial claims for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, decreased to 33,781, down by 6,351, or 15.8 percent, from 40,132 in October. Claims declined in several sectors, including manufacturing, 1,800; professional, scientific and technical services, 825; administrative and support services, 700; retail trade, 650; health care and social assistance, 600; transportation and warehousing, 300; and construction, 250. There were 47,351 claims in November 2012. 

The overall number of unemployed Georgians decreased to 363,055, down by 20,322 from 383,377 in October. This is the fewest unemployed Georgians since October 2008 when there were 346,852. There were 420,382 unemployed residents in November 2012. 

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“Laying of Stones” ceremony Saturday at new 107-acre park


    Billie Ann Rice and John Feight hold one of the stones that will eventually form a “walk through” eagle sculpture.

     A brand new 107-acre park at the top of Mt. Oglethorpe with hiking trails, scenic overlooks and a rock sculpture will open Saturday – talk about a Christmas present to the county.
    “Eagle’s Rest” will soar to life Saturday, Dec. 21st with a Laying of the Stones ceremony at 2 p.m. The public is invited to watch or participate with the laying of stones to form the initial marking of a large “walk through” eagle sculpture on the southern face of the mountain.

     To read the rest of this story see our print or online editions.

Next Jasper Farmers’ Market will be in downtown Jasper


By Darla Huffman
Jasper Farmers’ Market

    This Saturday, Dec. 21, will be a great opportunity to shop local, supporting both the Downtown Merchants and the Jasper Farmers’ Market vendors when they come together on Main Street. The vendors’ sales hours are from 9:30 to 1:30 (vendors should arrive on or shortly after 9). The Main

Jasper preparing large New Year’s celebration downtown

    Organizers are preparing to welcome a large crowd to downtown Jasper for the 2013 New Year’s Eve celebration featuring fireworks, a ball drop, vendors, music and giveaways (see full page ad this week for details).
    Jasper Mayor John Weaver said the city, the Chamber of Commerce, Jasper Merchants Association and downtown business owners are working to establish this as an annual celebration that will fill the streets with people ringing in the New Year.

Moss Firearms raising money to buy DAV new rifles


Damon Howell / Photo
    Moss Firearms owner Brannen Moss discusses the difference between the bolt-action rifles similar to the ones used by the Pickens DAV Honor Guard (top) and the AR-15s (bottom) similar to the ones he is raising money to purchase for the local chapter.

     When Brannen Moss attended the funeral of his best friend’s grandfather – a retired Navy man - one of the Pickens County Chapter DAV rifles being used during the Honor Guard ceremony misfired.
    “That’s not what you want to happen at a funeral when you are trying to perform your Honor Guard duties,” said Moss, gunsmith and owner of Moss Firearms in Jasper. “It’s embarrassing.”