How do we compare?
Unemployment rates for June 2013:
* Forsyth County — 6.9
* Cherokee County — 7.3
* Dawson County — 7.8
* Fulton County — 9.8
* Gwinnett County — 7.9
* Hall County — 7.6
* Georgia — 8.6
* United States — 7.8
Source: Georgia Department of Labor
Forsyth County continues to maintain one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state.
According to recent statistics from the Georgia Department of Labor, Forsyth’s unemployment rate was 6.9 percent for June 2013.
That was up slightly from May’s rate of 6.5 percent, but down from June 2012’s rate of 7.1 percent.
Randall Toussaint, vice president of economic development with the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce, said a slight rise from May to June is typical.
“The uptick has just been due to what we normally see around this time [of year] where there’s a departure of seasonal workers, and then the rate begins to balance itself out,” he said. “We’ll see that same fluctuation happen around Christmastime.”
Despite the slight increase from May to June, he said, Forsyth continues to be one of Georgia’s top counties.
“We still have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the metro Atlanta area and we’re also lower than the state of Georgia’s rate and the national rate.”
Georgia’s unemployment rate for June is 8.6 percent, while the nation’s is 7.8, according to the state labor department.
Just 20 counties throughout the state posted rates of less than 8 percent for June.
And only five of those had rates lower than than Forsyth — Miller at 6.8 percent; Banks and Madison at 6.7 percent; Echols at 6.0; and Oconee at 5.8 percent.
Forsyth had the lowest rate among surrounding counties. According to the labor department, its neighbors came in at the following percentages: Cherokee, 7.3; Dawson at 7.8; Fulton, 9.8; Gwinnett, 7.9; and Hall at 7.6.
All of those counties’ rates came down from June 2012 figures. That month, the counties posted following rates: Cherokee, 7.1; Dawson, 8.3; Fulton, 10.2; Gwinnett, 8.3; and Hall, 7.9.
Toussaint said new businesses, as well as expansions of existing firms in Forsyth, have played large roles in keeping the local rates low.
“We’re very unique in that we constantly work towards generating new jobs that will bring opportunities to our unemployed population,” he said. “We work very closely with the Department of Labor’s team to advertise those jobs and to make sure all the new companies that are moving in are hiring local people.
“[Unemployment rates] have declined steadily in sync with the amount of new jobs that have been created.”
Toussaint called existing businesses “the lifeblood” of the local economy.
“Last year, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, nearly 40 percent of all business expansion that took place in the northeast region of Georgia occurred in Forsyth County,” he said.
Forsyth’s highest jobless rate in recent years was about 8 percent, Toussaint said. But even then, that was much lower than the national rate of about 10 percent at that time.
“It’s true, our local unemployment rate has consistently been better than the national average and the state average,” he said. “And right now, we’re very pleased that that trend is still holding true.”