By Justin Reedy
Unemployment claims declined last month in the Southern Crescent, despite increases for metro Atlanta and Georgia as a whole.
There were 1,344 Clayton County residents who filed for unemployment insurance benefits for the first time in April, compared to 1,397 such filings in March, according to statistics released by the Georgia Department of Labor. Henry County saw its unemployment filings drop from 471 residents in March to 436 in April.
Though initial jobless claims are down in Clayton County, Morrow resident Tiffany Thompson has noticed that the local job market is very tight. Thompson, a certified nursing assistant, lost her job at a Jonesboro long-term care facility in April, and hasn't been able to find work since then.
"It's hard n no one's hiring right now," said Thompson, after stopping by the Labor Department's Career Center in Morrow this week and working out a problem with her benefits check. "I've been everywhere. I've even been out of the county, to Rockdale and Henry and DeKalb. There's not even any fast food restaurants hiring right now."
Though the local jobless claims may be rebounding, metro Atlanta and the rest of Georgia are still suffering, labor statistics show. The state had more than 49,000 first-time unemployment filings last month, which is an increase of about 2,000 from March and about 5,000 from last April. Metro Atlanta also saw increases in initial jobless claims from March to April, as well as from last April.
"The fact that initial claims continued on an upward trend in April suggests that the economy has not yet turned around," said state Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond. "What's needed now are job creation incentives that will encourage employers to start hiring again, so that our economy will move more quickly toward recovery."
Though the economy of the metro area and the state continues to decline, Stockbridge resident Anthony Jackson has seen plenty of openings during his job search. Jackson, who got out of the military recently after being trained as a mechanic, hopes to continue in that field.
"There's a lot available," said Jackson, who found three such job openings this week while searching online at the state's Career Center in Morrow. "I always have hope, so I'm pretty sure I'll be able to find something."
But Forest Park resident Roosevelt Bernard isn't so sure about his field n banking n and because of that is considering a change to the health care industry. During a slow economy, Bernard said, it will be good to have a degree in nursing n a job in which candidates are always in demand.
"There's no doubt this will be more stable," Bernard said. "Anywhere you go you can always find a job. Everywhere you go, they are looking for nurses."