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Jobless rate rises to 7.8 percent

POSTED: March 14, 2013 7:48 p.m.

ATLANTA—The Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday that the unemployment rate in metro Savannah rose to 8.3 percent in January, up two-tenths of a percentage point from 8.1 percent in December. The rate was 8.9 percent in January 2012.

Unemployment in Effingham County rose to 7.8 percent in January, up from 7.4 percent in December 2012. Effingham’s jobless rate in January 2012 was 8 percent.

The metro rate rose because of two primary factors — a loss of seasonal jobs and an increase in new layoffs, represented by initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits.

The number of jobs declined by 3,200, or 2.0 percent, from 158,500 in December to 155,300 in January. However, metro Savannah started the year with 4,200 more jobs in January than a year ago. Over the year, jobs were up by 2.8 percent, from 151,100 in January 2012. Job increases came mostly in trade, transportation, and warehousing, leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, professional and business services, and local government.

The number of initial claims, tied to many of the seasonal layoffs, rose by 359, or 25 percent, from 1,436 to 1,795. Most of the claims were filed in construction, manufacturing, trade, transportation, and warehousing, administrative and support services, and health care and social assistance. However, the number of initial claims is down by 21 from January 2012.

The rate in Coastal Georgia rose to 9 percent in January, up .3 percent from December. The January 2012 unemployment rate was 9.5 percent.

The rate rose because there were 454 more new claims for unemployment benefits in construction, trade, transportation and warehousing, administrative and support services, and health care and social assistance. While the initial claims were up from December to January, they were down by 453, or 11.9 percent, from 3,810 in January 2012. The decline in claims led to an over-the-year drop in the area’s jobless rate.

Metro Athens had the lowest area jobless rate at 6.6 percent, while metro Dalton and the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region tied for the highest at 11.9 percent.

Meanwhile, Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for January was 8.7 percent, unchanged from December. The rate was 9.3 percent in January a year ago.

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