Category Archives: Politics

Georgia’s unemployment rate declines to 5.6 percent in November


The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in November was 5.6 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from 5.7 percent in October. The rate was 6.7 percent in November 2014.

“Our employers created 3,700 jobs in November, which helped push the unemployment rate down to its lowest point since March 2008,” said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler.

The number of jobs increased to 4,309,100, or 0.1 percent, from 4,305,400 in October. Much of the job growth came in professional and business services, 2,300; construction, 2,100; education and health services, 1,800; leisure and hospitality, 1,700; and manufacturing, 1,400. These gains were somewhat offset by losses in information services, government, financial activities, and trade, transportation and warehousing.

“Over the year, we added 92,900 jobs, which is a respectable 2.2 percent growth rate,” said Butler. “Georgia continues to grow jobs faster than the nation, which has a 1.9 percent growth rate.”

Most of the over-the-year job growth came in trade, transportation and warehousing, 22,100; professional and business services, 21,200; education and health services, 16,900; leisure and hospitality, 15,800; government, 7,000; manufacturing, 6,000; and construction and financial activities, 4,400 each.

The number of initial claims for unemployment insurance, a measure of new layoffs, rose by 4,144, or 14 percent, to 33,773 in November. Most of the rise was due to an increase in temporary claims filed in manufacturing, especially in textiles and machinery.

Over the year, the number of claims was up by 5,308, or 18.6 percent, from 28,465 filed in November 2014. The increase came mostly in manufacturing and construction.

In November, the state’s labor force increased by 14,236 to 4,750,020.

Butler encouraged job seekers to use the GDOL’s online job listing service,, where 65,846 jobs throughout the state were posted in November.

To learn more about career opportunities and GDOL services for job seekers and employers,  connect with us on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter @GeorgiaDOL, which can be easily accessed via our website at

Congressman Collins, Senator Isakson, and Senator Perdue Introduce Legislation to Name Gainesville Courthouse After Former U.S. District Judge Sidney Smith

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Doug Collins, Senator Johnny Isakson, and Senator David Perdue introduced legislation to name the federal courthouse in Gainesville, Georgia the “Sidney Olsin Smith, Jr. Federal Building and United States Courthouse”. The three members issued the following joint statement after the identical bills were filed in both the House and Senate:

“Judge Smith dedicated his life to serving the public, and his influence is still felt here in Gainesville. As a veteran, lawyer, judge, and through his longtime involvement with Brenau University, he was committed to service. It is fitting that we commemorate his service to the community and the state of Georgia by naming this courthouse in his honor. The federal courthouse in Gainesville is a symbol of public service and civic duty, and Judge Smith dedicated his life to the high ideals of justice, honor, and family. Naming the courthouse after him will keep his legacy alive for years to come.”

State Funding Secured for State Route 20 Widening

ATLANTA – Georgia DOT Commissioner Russell McMurry today announced that, as a result of funding from the state’s Transportation Funding Act of 2015, the SR 20 Improvement project in Cherokee and Forsyth counties is now funded and will advance.

“We heard the community’s outcry for this crucial project and the desire for it to remain on the existing roadway,” said Commissioner McMurry. “This project is a perfect example of the positive impact that using state funds has over federal funding for projects such as this. We are thankful to the Governor and the Legislature for their support of reduced dependency on federal funding to address Georgia’s transportation needs.”

The Department began the current effort to find ways to improve mobility and improve safety along the 24-mile corridor between Canton and Cumming in Cherokee and Forsyth counties back in 2012. Federal regulations required consideration of three alternatives in the environmental process which caused great concern with residents and citizens. GDOT will now solely focus on widening the existing roadway.

“This project demonstrates what can be achieved with adequate funding for much needed transportation projects,” said State Transportation Board member Jeff Lewis. “Improvements to this corridor are long overdue and I am thankful for the cohesive effort that led to this.”

As a result of state funding, public input and evaluation of the current alternatives, the Department will break the corridor into six segments in an effort to advance the much needed relief to the corridor. Design of these segments will be concurrent and get underway in January 2016. The segments are:

  • I-575 to Scott Road
  • Scott Road to Union Hill Road
  • Union Hill Road to E. Cherokee Drive
  • Cherokee Drive to SR 369
  • SR 369 to SR 371
  • SR 371 to the existing 4-lane in Cumming

“I am grateful for the hard work and perseverance of GDOT in ensuring that the community’s concerns were heard and that this important project will be one of the first to show the positive impact of the Transportation Funding Act,” said state Senator Brandon Beach.

State Representative Mandi Ballinger noted that SR 20 is a critical corridor for Cherokee County and she has been fully supportive of finding a way to improve it. She is glad to see the positive impact of state funding in Cherokee County.

“SR 20 is an important corridor not only for people trying to safely get to and from work, but also for businesses moving their goods. We are indeed grateful that this project can be delivered with state funding instead of federal,” said state Senator Michael Williams

Georgia DOT will continue to work diligently to ensure that possible environmental impacts are avoided, minimized, and/or mitigated and to minimize property impacts. As the project moves ahead, the communities in and around the corridor will be kept informed of its progress.