Unemployment Rate Skyrockets In Decatur County

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A new report from the Georgia Department of Labor shows the unemployment rate for Southwest Georgia remained at 5.3% from March to April of this year.

But in Decatur County, the unemployment rate rose from 6.4% to 7.8% in just one month.

"Basically because there's not a lot of jobs to choose from. That's the only thing I can think of and a lot of big businesses are just cutting down on the days and stuff, just cutting back hours," said Joeanne Palmer, Bainbridge resident.

Decatur County's unemployment rate is also overwhelmingly higher than surrounding counties.

Lowndes, Thomas and Grady counties had less than 5% unemployment rates in April.

And while the numbers may be shocking to some, many local residents say they're not surprised.

"My sister yea she was looking for a job for 8 months and it seemed like everywhere she put an application in nobody hired," said Mittie Widner, Decatur County resident.

"A lot of jobs around here are factory jobs and a lot of mills around here are carpet, tile, people's not building houses so they're not getting any orders, they're laying people off not working as much," said Christopher Taylor, local resident.

Decatur County Chamber officials say that may be part of the reason for the swift unemployment increase.

They say while TRACO mill is currently hiring, several others have been keeping employees out of work for one week each month.

Department of Labor officials say these workers can then file partial unemployment insurance claims which can easily increase unemployment rates.