Carroll County’s labor force increased in June, a sign that the economy continues to improve a year after the pandemic began.

The Georgia Department of Labor said Thursday that the county’s labor force increased by 448 persons, or to 55,911 people in the work pool. That number is up by 2,540 for the past year, the department said.

A similar increase in available workers was reported across the 10 counties within the Three Rivers region, of which Carroll County is a part. Regionwide, the labor force increased by 1,960 persons, or 252,039, an over-the-year increase of 8,874.

The economic effects of the pandemic began to be felt by late March 2020, when social distancing and the closing of businesses deemed “non-essential” were imposed to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. With the advent of vaccinations and an overall decrease in virus cases, the entire national economy has been improving — although many health officials are concerned about new variants of the virus which are more infectious than the original.

Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said data on available jobs were also signs of a continued turnaround in the economy.

“We are continuing to see an increase in the number of jobs available and very few actual reported layoffs through the WARN system, both good signs of an improving economy,” Butler said in a press release.

WARN, or the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act is a federal law that helps ensure advance notice to workers in case of plant closings or mass layoffs.

“We must continue to work together to connect those seeking work with the many jobs available that offer stable salaries and competitive benefits,” Butler said.

In other data released Thursday by the labor department, Carroll County’s unemployment rate increased in June to 4.2%, a rise of four-tenths percentage points over the May figure. A year ago, the rate was 8.3%.

Initial claims for unemployment decreased by 9% in June, and when compared to June 2020 those claims were down about 82%, the DOL said.

Across the Three Rivers region, which also includes Heard, Coweta, Troup, Meriwether, Spaulding, Butts, Pike, Lamar and Upson counties, the unemployment rate also increased in June, to 4.4%, representing a rise of five-tenths percentage points. A year ago, the region jobless rate was 9%.

While unemployment claims decreased in Carroll County, they were significantly higher across the region. Initial unemployment claims for Three Rivers increased 12% in June, yet when compared to last June those claims were down about 82%.

Carroll County ended June with 53,544 employed residents. The number increased by 163 people during June and was up 4,589 compared to last year.

Employ Georgia, the labor department’s online job listing service showed that there were 803 active job postings within the county for June.

The entire Three Rivers region ended the month with 240,927 employed residents. That represents an increase of 620 persons during June, and an increase of 19,557 as compared to last year.

Employ Georgia showed 4,930 active job postings for the region during June.