There were two slivers of silver lining in the monthly report. One shows that while the rate went up, the number of Floyd County citizens actually on a job in May was also up by 237 people from April to May, when local employment was listed at 42,425. The number of people actually in the labor force was up by 359 citizens to 47,270.
The other positive aspect to the report is that unemployment locally was down from 10.6 percent in May of 2011.
Floyd County Commission Chairman Irwin Bagwell said he isn’t surprised by the monthly fluctuations in the unemployment numbers.
“We all want them to go down, but until we get businesses coming in, not only to Floyd County, but the region as a whole, it’s going to affect the numbers like that,” Bagwell said. “When we get the Lowe’s opened up and they get to really start hiring, that should help a little bit.”
The location of the Lowe’s Regional Distribution Center, and the 600 jobs it is scheduled to create during the next three years, is expected to be as big for Bartow and Gordon counties as it is for Floyd County.
Bagwell said leadership across the community is doing everything it can to bring jobs to Rome.
“We keep asking ourselves ‘What else can we do to attract industry here?’” said Bagwell. “(Chamber of Commerce President) Al (Hodge) is working day and night specifically on that. He has had some leads but nothing concrete at this time.”
Layton Roberts, president of Etowah Employment, 255 N. Fifth Ave., said orders placed with his agency have been up, but he feels that is representative of companies still not being willing to bring back full-time employees.
“We’re going to continue to see that until after the Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of ‘Obamacare,’ and then maybe until after the election,” Roberts said. “I think we’re going to continue to see these spikes of unemployment, and then another month it’ll go down a little bit.”