It's been a wild ride for Baldwin County's labor force

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During the first few years of the Great Recession, Baldwin County's unemployment rate was in the double digits, reaching as high as 15 percent.

Fifteen thousand-something Baldwin County residents routinely were classified as "employed," according to the Georgia Department of Labor's data. 2010 and 2011 were the bottom, back after four different state prisons and three different factories closed, including the supersized Rheem Manufacturing. 

In 2011, were roughly 3,000 more unemployed people living in Baldwin County than there were five years earlier, according to Georgia Department of Labor's database. Out of the 49 Georgia counties with a population of at least 40,000, none shed jobs at a higher rate than Baldwin between 2006-2011. Net job losses of 25 percent, which occurred here, typically were reserved for much smaller counties with much smaller populations.

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Baldwin County gradually began building back. By 2018, there was an average of 16,415 "employed" residents of Baldwin County, whether they worked here on in another county. By 2019, the number of "employed residents" was back in the high 16- and 17,000s, where it'd been prior to the Great Recession.

Then, seemingly overnight, roughly 1,700 people living in Baldwin County lost their job in one single month – March 2020. Thanks to COVID-19, Baldwin County suddenly was back in the 15,000s and back at its 2010 and 2011 Great Recession levels.

Chart courtesy of the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics


It'd be short-lived. Thanks to several trillion dollars pumped into the economy by Congress and the Federal Reserve, as well as loosening pandemic restrictions, the jobs came back. By November 2020, Baldwin County's "employed base" was back in the 17,000, right around where it was prior to the pandemic. It's since fallen back into the 16,000s periodically, but the number most recently was placed at 17,111 for March 2022.

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