Almost eight years ago, Cedartown and Polk County were welcoming a local office of the Georgia Department of Labor. Then-Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond was joined by local and regional elected officials and business leaders in making the ceremonial snip of the ribbon in early March 2010. It was a state-of-the-art construction project with some 9,000 square feet under roof.
The snip now under way this month is just as dramatic. Citing ebbing need amid a rebounding economy, the labor department plans to shutter the office at the end of business on Thursday, Feb. 15. As stated in the above photograph — courtesy of Andrew Carter of WGAA 1340 AM — clients are being referred online or else to offices in Rome, Cartersville or Marietta.
“DOL works in reverse of the economy,” says David Bennett, the agency’s director of communications. “When the economy gets better, the agency shrinks.”
Today, the labor department see less need for as many offices and was seeing fewer people at the Cedartown location at 262 N.Park Blvd., Bennett says. The campus has been used not only for processing unemployment applications but also for job recruiting and training operations.
Several offices around the state have closed or moved in recent months, he added. The Newnan newspaper reports its office closed in December with operations being combined with those in Carrollton.
Based on the latest data available — December 2017 — the labor department showed the jobless rate in Polk County at 4.7 percent, the same as November but down from 5.6 in December 2016. Some 17,542 people were working in December 2017 vs 17,148 a year earlier, roughly 400 people. Those unemployment dropped from 1,026 to 867 year over year, or 159 people.
The jobless rate in March 2010 in Polk County was 12.3 percent.