By Carey O'Neil, Chattanooga Times Free Press - bio
JoAnn Norris, left, and Janet Canada discuss their time working in carpet factories and their recent unemployment as more jobs in the industry are mechanized. Photo by Alyson Wright/Times Free Press
DALTON, GA (Times Free Press) -- Dalton, Ga., lost more jobs than any other U.S. metropolitan area in the past year as the self-described Carpet Capital failed to match the recession rebound in most of the country.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said Wednesday that the Dalton area shed 4,600 jobs, or 6.9 percent of its total, from June 2011 to June 2012. Dalton is the worst of the 372 metro areas across the country in both overall and percent job loss, the bureau reports, and only 32 of those metros even saw job losses.
Since Dalton's most recent peak in July 2006, nearly one-quarter of its jobs have disappeared.
That's why Flor and Tomas Palomo packed up their five kids and moved from the Dalton area to Flor's Texas hometown last week. The two gave a combined total of 33 years to the flooring industry in Dalton, but took voluntary layoffs as they saw their hours dwindle.