DALTON, WHITFIELD COUNTY (WRCB)  --  New unemployment numbers released by Georgia's Department of Labor prove what Dalton city leaders and residents have been fearing, a spike in metro Dalton's unemployment rate.

It rose from 12.1 percent in August to 12.5 percent in September.  

"Dalton numbers are hard to track because we employ so many people in northwest Georgia and a lot of times we get hit with an unemployment number because they're laid off at a plant in Dalton, but they live in Ringgold or Chattanooga or whatever, but it's too high regardless what the number is," says Dalton Mayor David Pennington.

"I'm ready to go back to work," says Richard White.

White has been unemployed since 2009 after he was injured in a car accident.

"A lady came up behind on her cell phone and hit me in the back, broke my neck," White explains.  

After years of medical bills and trying to support his family, White says he's ready to go back to work, but so far has not had a single job offer.

"Right now I'll take anything," White says. "I was in the cooking business."  

State officials blame the recent job cuts in and around Dalton for the jump in the unemployment rate. But with more job cuts to come, many wonder how high will it go?

White says there is only one thing you can do.

"You have to stay strong and continue doing what you have to do to take care of your family," he says.

Dalton's 12.5 unemployment rate is the highest rate for any metro region in Georgia.

A year ago, that number stood at 11.7 percent.

"We still employ the second most percentage of people to our population in the state of Georgia," says Mayor Pennington.