In October, Cobb’s unemployment rate was 7.5 percent, down from 7.7 percent in September. Metro Atlanta reported an overall jobless rate of 8.2 percent in October, down from 8.3 percent the month before, and Georgia saw unemployment of 8.5 percent in October, slightly down from 8.6 percent in September.
The nation’s rate for October was 7.5 percent, down from 7.6 percent the month before. The state and national numbers are not seasonally adjusted.
County Chairman Tim Lee monitors the jobless rate monthly, along with other economic indicators such as housing starts.
“For Cobb, the economy is inching upward, as all the indicators we have are up,” Lee said. “But the caveat is what does or does not happen in Washington in the next 90 days” regarding the fiscal cliff.
The state labor department also tracks jobless numbers for cities with more than 25,000 residents, which includes Cobb’s Marietta, Smyrna and Kennesaw — all of which continue to have rates higher than 8 percent.
According to that data, Marietta had 31,919 residents in the workforce in October, with 2,761 of them unemployed, for a jobless rate of 8.7 percent. That rate was unchanged from September.
Smyrna had just over 30,000 people in the workforce, but 2,434 of them were unemployed in October, for a jobless rate of 8.1 percent — down slightly from 8.2 percent in September.
Kennesaw, meanwhile, had 16,836 residents in the workforce in October, with 1,433 of them unemployed, for a rate of 8.5 percent in October, down from 8.7 percent in September, according to the state labor department.
Economist Dr. Roger Tutterow said the unemployment data record people employed in any capacity, whether full- or part-time, and exclude so-called ‘discouraged’ workers who are unemployed and have given up looking for work.
“It’s fair to believe that the unemployment rate has been gradually working its way down, because we have been adding jobs to payroll, but unfortunately, we’re still adding them at a lower rate than what would be considered a healthy economy,” Tutterow said. “We want to celebrate the positive, that the numbers have come down, but they’re still well above what we’d like to see.”
David Connell, president and CEO of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, noted the link between home building and the unemployment rate.
“We’re starting to see new subdivisions again in Cobb,” he said. “People are starting to build again, and I think that’s a big driver of improvement in the unemployment rate in Cobb.”