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Metro jobless rate hits 6.6 percent
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ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) reported that the unemployment rate in the metro Savannah area rose to a preliminary unadjusted rate of 6.6 percent in December, up 2.7 percentage points over the year from December 2007. The jobless rate in metro Savannah rose eight-tenths of one percentage point from a revised 5.8 percent in November.

Meanwhile, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 8.1 percent in December, the highest rate in almost 26 years. The jobless rate was up 3.6 percentage points from 4.5 percent at this same time last year. The December unemployment rate was up seven-tenths of one percentage point from a revised 7.4 percent in November.  

The last time Georgia posted a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate at this level was in March of 1983 when the rate was also 8.1 percent. The state rate remained above the national rate of 7.2 percent for the 11th straight month. At present, 393,168 unemployed Georgians are looking for work. Of that number, 156,719, or 40 percent, are drawing unemployment insurance benefits.  

Over the last year, the number of payroll jobs decreased 121,800 or 2.9 percent. Jobs were lost in manufacturing, construction, and trade, along with professional and business services, including temporary employment agencies. Jobs were added in health care, education, and with the federal government. In metro Savannah, the number of jobs in December dropped 3,000, or 1.8 percentage points, from 162,300 to 159,300. From November to December, the number of jobs in metro Savannah declined 1,000.