The numbers are in and they show 2017 was a banner year for Athens when it comes to job creation, employment, and workforce gains.
The four-county metropolitan statistical area, or MSA, includes Clarke, Madison, Oconee and Oglethorpe. Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler recently said the MSA unemployment rate fell by 1 percent.
“If we take a look at the reason behind that rate decrease, we did see a lot of individuals come out of the labor force during the month of December,” said Butler. “We also saw the Athens area decrease its job number by about 900 jobs. Most of that’s going to be due to temporary job losses due to the holiday season.”
Butler said the area ended the year with more than 5,000 new jobs.
“To continue along with the good news is the fact that the Athens area had a very strong job growth over the year,” said Butler. “As a matter of fact, the Athens area actually gained about 5,100 jobs over the year, which is over a 5 percent job growth.
“(That) is one of the strongest job growth percentages around the state. As we come through this year and head into 2018, we expect that job growth pattern to continue for the Athens area.”