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Jobless rate lowest in region
Local infrastructure, employability cited
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Forsyth County News

Forsyth has the lowest unemployment rate among counties included in the North Georgia Mountains Regional Commission.

According to December 2012 figures from the commission, which includes 12 counties in northeast Georgia, Forsyth’s unemployment rate was 6.5 percent.

The next closest rate was in Banks County, where it was 6.6 percent.

Forsyth’s neighbor to the east, Hall County, posted a rate of 6.9 percent, while to the north, Dawson, came in at 7.7 percent.

Other counties in the region saw unemployment rates ranging from 7.2 percent in Union up to 12.5 percent in Rabun, which was the region’s highest.

Pete Amos, chairman of the Forsyth County commission, attributed the county’s low jobless rate to a number of factors.

“We’ve got great roads, great schools, great parks and that all leads to having jobs for people,” he said. “Our residential building permits are going up every year and people want to move here.

“That just relates to more jobs here, so we’re just the county to be in right now.”

James McCoy, president and CEO of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce, added that the county has seen a number of projects in recent years that have helped maintain a low unemployment rate.

“We had about 17 new announcements of expansions or new companies relocating here [in 2012],” he said. “Right around 1,000 new jobs were announced [last] year. And when you look at the past two or three years, we’ve had some important announcements.”

McCoy also noted the employability of the population.

“It’s a very employable community in terms of education levels, skills levels, and we are very fortunate that the folks who live here are very employable,” he said.

“It’s more than just college degrees. It’s that they are highly skilled maybe in a particular area that is doing well right now. Lots of engineers, lots of folks in health care — they’re employable markets — so therefore [residents are] able to take advantage of a lot of opportunities, not just in our community but in others.”

Amos also gave credit to county residents cooperating to ensure stability.

“It’s just a combination of [groups working together],” he said. “Our county had a downturn like everybody else, but now it’s on the rebound and we were set for the rebound due to the chamber of commerce working very hard, and the [Forsyth County] development authority and just all the good staff we have at the Forsyth County Administration Building.

“Everybody’s worked hard for this county.”  

While there’s much to be proud of, McCoy said there’s always room for improvement.

“We have a lot more work to do as a community to focus on new capital investment from businesses here, new job growth from businesses here,” he said. “Really, our goal should be if someone needs a job and wants a job, that we live in a community that a job is available.

“We’re not quite there yet and we’ve got to keep our eye on that ball.”