The Development Authority of Dawson County announced recently that the monthly unemployment rate dropped in Dawson County from a record high level in June.
The July 2009 county unemployment level was reported as 10.5 percent. This is the preliminary rate as released by the Georgia Department of Labor.
The department also released the revised final numbers for June that placed the county unemployment at 10.8 percent last month. While down from the June preliminary figure of 10.9 percent, the downward revision still made June the highest unemployment level on record.
While only a modest decrease over the June unemployment level, the July figure was lower than local expectations, following significant layoffs in the metro Atlanta area during the first half of the summer.
The July reduction is only the second month since August of 2008 where the unemployment levels did not rise.
There were 1,161 Dawson County residents out of work in July.
“We were glad that the rate reversed from the constant climb in unemployment,” said Charlie Auvermann, executive director of the authority. “This is only a modest drop, but everyone is hopeful this is a sign that we are seeing something of a turn around in the local economy.”
The state unadjusted unemployment rate continued to climb, however, standing at 10.6 percent for the month of July after being 10.4 percent in June, according to the information released by the Georgia Department of Labor on Aug. 27.
Auvermann noted that the July county figure was the first time in 2009 that the county unemployment level was below the state level even though it was only 0.1 percent lower.
Dawson’s unemployment level is still very high and Georgia was higher than the national average unemployment rate of 9.6 percent for the month.
The local unemployment rate this time last year was 6.6 percent.
Unemployment in the county more than doubled during the last 12 months, with the sharpest increase coming last winter.
Auvermann also reminded unemployed residents that have earned their Work Ready Certificate through the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce and Lanier Technical College that they are eligible for gift cards under a new program announced by Gov. Sonny Perdue.
Since Sept. 2008, about 3,200 unemployed people earned their Work Ready Certificates and found jobs according to state figures.
For more information, visit www.developdawson.org.