Unemployment continues downward trend in Polk, area
A local dog was recently returned to its owner after Polk County’s commissioners declared the animal not dangerous in a formal hearing. Since the Pitbull-Lab mix was responsible for the injury of another dog, the hearing helped to highlight some of the boundaries of the Dangerous Dog Ordinance.
The most common result of dangerous dog hearings stems from bodily harm inflicted on other animals or humans by the dog, but the law also considers those which engage in animal fighting, act aggressively with bites or attacks, inflict property damage, or provoke individuals without prompt to be dangerous.
Simply barking, growling, or showing teeth isn’t enough to classify a dog as a threat.
“They need to contact us (animal control) if they think they have a dangerous animal,” Polk County Animal Control Director Jeff Crawford said. “Some of the warning signs are aggressiveness towards humans, other animals-including cats. Most dogs don’t like cats, but if they’re aggressive towards humans and other animals, that could be signs of a dangerous dog. Any animal that’s got a mouth is capable of biting and being considered dangerous.”
Polk County Animal Control can be reached at 770-749-8908, but those in need can also visit at 1215 Veal St., Cedartown from 10 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, 10 a.m. through 5:30 on Wednesday, 12 through 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, 10 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. on Friday, and 1 through 4 p.m. on Saturday.
The subject of the October 24 hearing was brought into the home of a Chihuahua, and upon accidentally being released together, the PitbullLab broke the Chihuahua’s legs and caused it to be euthanized.
While some animal control officers felt the animal was dangerous, the Pitbull-Lab’s release was heavily prompted by when and where its aggressiveness was triggered.
“He (the Pitbull-Lab) has shown aggression towards other dogs when he’s inside the kennel,” Crawford said. “I took him outside today and walked him by every dog that was in our kennel, and he did not show any aggression towards them.”
The dog’s actions demonstrated a lack of perpetual aggression, and he was reportedly friendly to any humans he encountered, too.
“I believe the dog is dangerous to other animals when cornered and unable to escape, but to humans, the dog has been fine,” Crawford said.
Another factor that led to the dog’s release was the unique scenario regarding the injury. The Pitbull-Lab, while normally kept leashed, was invited into a neighbor’s home only because of severe weather.
The dog is normally kept from other animals, but it managed to escape before attacking the Chihuahua. When watched carefully and kept comfortable, the commissioners likely felt the dog was of little risk.
For similar dogs that show aggression only when caged or when in contact with other animals, Crawford highlighted preventative measures to decrease the chances of ending up in a dangerous dog hearing.
“Have your dog spayed or neutered,” Crawford explained. “That will reduce the activity of wanting to fight, not to say it will stop it 100 percent, but that will help control their urge to want to fight. If they have any questions, have them contact animal control and we’ll help them the best that we can.”
Making sure there are enough people in the workforce to hire is going to be an ongoing challenge in Polk County compared to where unemployment was in past years.
The latest figures provided by the Department of Labor for September show a drop of six tenths of a percent from 4 percent for August’s adjusted figure, to just 3.4 percent for the month of September.
Polk civilian labor force stood now at 18,044 employed residents compared to the 18,688 available to work, a difference of just 644 people who sought assistance in the past month.
Compared to where the rate was in September 2017, it’s full 1.4 percent drop year over year. Just two years ago, the rate sat at 5.9 percent, and the year before at 6.4 percent.
It’s getting to a point locally where now the labor market is so small that everyone who wants to work can get find employment. The continued trend of a decrease in the rate will force employers to soon get creative with what they offer people to sign on and stay on in their jobs.
The Development Authority of Polk County’s President and CEO Missy Kendrick said that “unemployment numbers are beginning to reach critical levels for the state and especially for our region.”
“The Development Authority of Polk County and our sister authorities are going to have to undertake some initiatives to incentivize the attraction of the workforce of the future,” Kendrick said.
She added that work is already underway to investigate what those incentives could look like, and she hoped to provide further information during the State of the Community event happening on Tuesday after press time.
Polk County employers aren’t the only ones who are likely in the future to face increased difficulty in finding people to fill jobs.
The Rome Metropolitan Statistical Area added 300 jobs in September as compared to September a year ago, State labor officials said 41,400 jobs were attached to businesses with payrolls based in the Rome market, up from 41,100 in September of last year.
Regionally, the number of initial claims, a request for assistance from someone who has not received unemployment benefits in the preceding 12 months, was down from August to September, but up over September of a year ago. The 15-county Northwest Georgia report had 2,113 first time claims in September, down 13.6 percent from the 2,445 that were filed in August but up 9.3 percent over the 1,934 first time claims filed in September of 2017.
Gordon County was the only county in the mid-Coosa Valley that actually saw an increase in first time claims from August to September, jumping 8.7 percent to 163 claims. That was also up 19 percent over the initial claims field in September last year.
The Department of Labor reported the statewide unemployment rate in September was 3.7 percent in September, the lowest since May of 2001. Countyby-county unemployment rates for September will be released Oct. 25.