More Bartow County residents were working in 2019’s first half than in the same six-month period of 2018.

This year’s average unemployment rate in Bartow also was better than the state and national averages for the same time period, according to numbers from the Georgia Department of Labor.

The county averaged 3.6% unemployment for January through June this year, which was a 0.3% decrease from the first six months of 2018 when it averaged 3.9%, the Georgia Department of Labor reported.

In addition, this year’s six-month average in Bartow County was below the statewide and national averages of 3.8%, the labor department reported.

The latest unemployment numbers appear to show that an annual drop in thepercentage of Bartow County residents without jobs could continue for a ninth consecutive year.

The county saw its annual unemployment rate decrease for an eighth straight year in 2018 with 3.5% compared to 4.6% in 2017, according to the state labor department.

After increasing more than 5% between 2008 and 2010, annual unemployment in Bartow dropped 8.7% in the following eight years — from 12.2% in 2010 to 3.5% in 2018.

Its 2018 average also was at or below the statewide average for the fifth consecutive year.

Before 2014, Bartow had been above the statewide average annually for 14 years, according to labor department records.

The county’s population grew 5% between 2010 and 2017, from 100,614 to 105,054. But the number of county residents employed in that time period increased 13% from 42,007 to 47,468, according to U.S. Census Bureau and latest state labor statistics.

JULY CONTINUES TRENDThe trend of lower year-to-year unemployment in Bartow appeared to continue into July.

Monthly numbers showed Bartow unemployment at 3.5% compared to 4.0% in July 2018, according to the state labor department.

More than 300 additional county residents were working — 48,759 in July compared to 48,452 in July 2018.

About 250 fewer Bartow residents were unemployed — 1,771 in July 2019 compared to 2,025 in July 2018.

Nationally, the unemployment rate was 3.7% and Georgia’s rate was 3.6%. A year ago, Georgia’s unemployment rate sat at 3.8%. The state’s all-time low of 3.4% was recorded in 2000.

The number of Bartow residents filing claims for jobless benefits decreased by 6% between July 2018 and July 2019.

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