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Effingham's jobless rate dips under 8 percent
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ATLANTA — The Georgia Department of Labor reported that the preliminary unadjusted unemployment rate in the metro Savannah area rose to 8.4 percent in December, up four-tenths of one percentage point from a revised 8.0 percent in November.

Meanwhile, the number of unemployed workers in the area increased by 753, from 14,006 in November to 14,759 in December.

In December 2008, there were 11,840 jobless workers in the metro Savannah area, when the unemployment rate was 6.6 percent. The number of payroll jobs in metro Savannah in December 2009 was 154,200, a loss of 4,200, or 2.7 percent, from 158,400 in December 2008.  

Unemployment in Effingham County was at 7.9 percent. Effingham was one of 11 counties in Georgia with less than 8 percent unemployment. Of the 159 counties in the state, 100 have unemployment rates of at least 10 percent. Hancock has the highest unemployment rate at 21.4 percent. Oconee (6 percent) has the lowest unemployment rate in the state.

Statewide, the number of payroll jobs in December 2009 was 3,859,800, a decrease of 175,000, or 4.3 percent, from 4,034,800 in December 2008. The over-the-year losses came in trade, transportation and utilities, manufacturing, construction, and professional and business services.

On a positive note, educational and health services added 11,200 jobs over the year.

Meanwhile, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 10.3 percent in December, matching the record high reported last July. The jobless rate was up two-tenths of a percentage point from a revised 10.1 percent in November. The rate was up 2.8 percentage points from 7.5 percent at this same time last year. The national adjusted unemployment rate is 10.0 percent. For 25 of the last 26 months, Georgia’s unemployment rate has exceeded the national unemployment rate. And, since the recession began in December 2007, Georgia’s workforce has shrunk by 121,257, or 2.5 percent, from 4,823,467 to 4,702,210.