State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said today that 2017 was a banner year for job creation and employment in the Northwest Georgia area.

The 15-county Northwest Georgia region ended the calendar year with 11,485 more employed residents, 8,421 more people in the workforce, and an unemployment rate down .9 percent.

“This is a very good year for the Northwest Georgia area,” Butler said. “All of the major indicators trended in the right direction. I’m expecting the same will continue in 2018.”

The region also lost 59 employed residents last month. Still, the Northwest Georgia area ended 2017 with 400,300 employed residents.

The Northwest Georgia labor force, the number of residents with jobs and those unemployed but actively looking for work, fell by 40 in December. The area posted a labor force total of 418,397 at year’s end.

In December, 2,848 initial claims for unemployment insurance were filed, up by 11 percent from the previous month. In comparison to last December, initial claims are down by 25 percent.

Meanwhile, the region’s unemployment rate fell from 5.2 percent to 4.3 over the 12-month cycle. The December rate, at 4.3 percent, was unchanged from the previous month.

Employ Georgia, the GDOL’s online job listing service at showed 2,612 new active job postings in Northwest Georgia at year’s end.

The Northwest Georgia region includes Bartow, Chattooga, Catoosa, Dade, Fannin, Floyd, Gilmer, Gordon, Haralson, Murray, Paulding, Pickens, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield counties.

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