According to the Georgia Department of Labor, the Rome area wrapped up 2018 with an unemployment rate of 4.4%. The jobless rate was 3.7% in November and 4.5% in December of 2017.

The labor force increased by 178 in December to reach 44,461. That number is up by 141 over the past year.

Rome lost 170 employed residents in December, bringing the total to 42,484. The number is up by 156 for the year or about 13 per month.

The number of jobs in December were down 100, dropping the total to 41,800. The job total in Rome was, however,  up 300 over the year.

In Polk County, the December unemployment rate at 4.1 percent was down from 4.7 percent a year ago. In December, the number climbed 0.6 percent.

In Bartow County, the unemployment rate for December, at 3.7 percent, was up 0.6 percent over the previous month. A year ago, the rate was 4.1 percent.

In Gordon County, the December unemployment rate at 4.0 percent was down from 4.3 percent a year ago. In December, the number climbed 1 percent from November.

In Chattooga County, the December unemployment rate at 4.3 percent was down from 4.1 a year ago.  it was up from 4 percent in November.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said that Northwest Georgia ended 2018 with strong gains in labor force and employed residents. “Last year was a strong one in terms of gains for the economy and jobs,” Butler said. “We saw new records set across the state. Our unemployment rate continued to trend downward. Jobs were created and more Georgians became employed.”

The labor force in Northwest Georgia went grew by 5,184 over the past 12 months to end 2018 at 422,668. For the month, the number increased by 1,864.

Northwest Georgia also added employed residents in 2018. The year-end total of 406,190 grew by 6,631 over the past 12 months. For the month, the number fell by 705.

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