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Jobless rate up in January
From staff reports
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The Development Authority of Dawson County announced Friday that the monthly unemployment rate again soared to record highs in Dawson County.


The January 2010 county unemployment rate was reported as 10.9 percent in a preliminary rate  released by the Georgia Department of Labor. 


There were 1,197 Dawson County residents out of work in January.


“Obviously this was not what we were hoping to see,” said Charlie Auvermann, executive director of the authority. “This puts us back where we were in the middle of last year.”


The January level of 10.9 percent equaled the highest unemployment level recorded during the recession when it also reached 10.9 percent in June 2009. 


January 2010 joins June 2009 as the highest unemployment levels on record in modern times.


The department also released the revised final numbers for December 2009 that placed the county unemployment at 9.7 percent for that month. 


Dawson equaled the Georgia unadjusted average of 10.9 percent and both are again higher than the national average of 10.6 percent. 


Dawson County was also higher than the 10.3 percent regional average reported for the 13 county Georgia Mountain Region.


Within the region, Hart County continues to exhibit the highest levels of unemployment at 13.8 percent, while Banks County has the lowest at 7.9 percent. 


Auvermann was part of a four-member team invited to speak last week before the Georgia House Committee on Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications to answer questions about the new North Georgia Network fiber project. 


Several representatives questions revolved around unemployment and jobs that might be generated from the project.


“We told them that NGN could result in upwards of 800 jobs at the height of construction,” he said. “There are a great number of people in this region that are out of work.”


Auvermann noted that two firms have announced their move to Dawson County, but indicated that most of their employees would be transferred with the moves, so few new jobs would be expected.


“However both of the companies are growing, so long-range we are hopeful that more jobs will be generated from the moves,” he said.