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Labor Dept: Athens jobs increase, unemployment claims decrease

Labor Dept: Athens jobs increase, unemployment claims decrease

The state Labor Department says the Athens unemployment rate was 3.8 percent in March, down from 4.1 percent in February.    Athens ranked 2nd among Georgia’s 14 metropolitan statistical areas with a 3.8 percent unemployment rate, down .3 percent from last month. The rate was 4.5 percent a year ago.   State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler noted jobs, and employed residents increased - again. At the same time, unemployment claims dropped.   “It’s good to see such a strong report in March,” Butler said. “So many of our local communities are trending in the right direction in terms of job creation and hiring. And, we are even seeing records in many places.”   In March, the number of employed residents in the Athens area, at 100,069, was up by 187 over the month and 4,550 for the year.   Jobs held constant in March to 98,500. The change over the past 12 months was 3,000.   The area reported strong growth in leisure and hospitality.    The Athens labor force ended March at 103,976. That number is down 205 over the month and up 4,008 over the past 12 months.   Georgia’s 14 metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) had unemployment rates that varied from a low of 3.3 percent in Gainesville to Dalton ’s 5.3 percent. All 14 trended lower in March.   Initial claims for unemployment were down about 11 percent for the month and about 23 percent for the year.   The four-county MSA includes Clarke, Madison, Oconee and Oglethorpe counties.

More storms today?

More storms today?

The National Weather Service has extended until tonight the flood warning that was originally set to expire this morning: it’s for the Oconee River at Penfield, impacting parts of Clarke, Oconee, and Greene counties. The river rose after three days of rain earlier this week: there is more rain in the forecast for today.    There is a chance of more stormy weather for north Georgia today, including the possibility of thunderstorms that could produce hail. Up to an inch of rain is anticipated. “We have a cold pocket of air across North Georgia and we could see some small hail as a result of that,” says Channel 2 meteorologist Glenn Burns.  Rain should arrive by noon and a “rumble” of thunder should hit by 5 p.m., Burns said.  The latest weather models indicate that isolated, severe thunderstorms will arrive between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., Channel 2 Action News reported. 

Diamond Dogs top Tech in Atlanta

Diamond Dogs top Tech in Atlanta

The No. 20 Georgia Bulldogs clinched the season series with Georgia Tech after posting an 8-3 win Wednesday in front of a crowd of 1,878 at Russ Chandler Stadium.   The Bulldogs (28-13) have now won five in a row over Tech, which is their longest winning streak over their rival since a stretch from 1985-87. Sophomore third baseman Aaron Schunk tied his career high with a 4-for-5 performance while Tucker Maxwell (2-3, 2 RBI) and LJ Talley (2-3, 3 RBI) blasted home runs as part of Georgia’s 14-hit attack.   Tech (22-20) took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a two-out, RBI-single by Colin Hall. They threatened in the first with runners at the corners and one out, but freshman pitcher C.J. Smith snagged a line drive and threw to first to complete a double play. Through the first four innings, Georgia was 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position, and Schunk had both of the team’s hits, a double and a single.   In the fifth, Maxwell tied the game with his second home run of the year. With one out in the bottom of the fifth, Georgia lifted Smith in favor of Zac Kristofak. It was Smith’s second career start and the first run he had allowed in his career after coming in with 17 scoreless frames. He struck out two and allowed five hits in 4.1 innings. Kristofak earned the win to move his record to 3-1, going 1.2 innings before the Bulldogs brought in junior Kevin Smith for two scoreless innings and Schunk took care of the ninth.   In the sixth, Georgia struck for three two-out runs on four hits off freshman Brant Hurter. Redshirt freshman Mason Meadows put the Bulldogs in front with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly and then Talley followed with an RBI-single and Maxwell added a run-scoring double for a 4-1 advantage. Hurter went six innings and allowed four runs on eight hits with three walks and six strikeouts to fall to 4-3.    In the seventh, Schunk struck again with a two-out RBI-single for his career-tying fourth hit of the night that made it 5-2. Talley’s third home run of the year, a two-run shot in the eighth gave the Bulldogs a 7-2 lead. McGovern contributed a sacrifice fly in the frame to complete the scoring.   “We started slow and (Brant) Hurter is a good pitch and looked to get comfortable when Tucker Maxwell woke us up with the home run,” said Georgia’s Ike Cousins head baseball coach Scott Stricklin. “We got a lot of two-strike hits and all around it was a great effort. C.J. gave us a good start, although I joked with him after we took him out that we didn’t recruit him to give up runs as that was the first one he’s allowed in his career. One of our goals each season is to win the series against Georgia Tech, and we’ve done that. We still have one big one left with them at SunTrust.”   The teams will meet for the third and final time of the regular season on May 8 at SunTrust Park, home of the Atlanta Braves. This game is billed as the 16th annual Farmview Market Spring Classic For Kids and benefits Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Georgia holds a 10-5 edge in this series that for the first 14 years was played at Turner Field before moving to SunTrust Park in 2017.   Georgia returns home to begin a three-game series with Tennessee (24-19, 7-11 SEC) Friday. First pitch at Foley Field will be at 7:02 pm on SECN+ and the Bulldog Sports Network from IMG.

Roller coaster Thursday for President Trump on Russia, Cohen, Cabinet

In a turbulent Thursday, President Donald Trump raised new questions about how he might deal with the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections, admitted that Michael Cohen was his lawyer in legal dealings with porn star Stormy Daniels, watched as his Cabinet saw a day of success, verbal scrapes, and setbacks, and then saw a Senate panel approve a bill designed to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

A day after his personal lawyer notified a federal court that he would exercise his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination in a lawsuit brought by Daniels, the President did an interview by [More]