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State unemployment hits 10.1 percent
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ATLANTA—State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said today that Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 10.2 percent in August, its highest level in six months. The August rate was up one-tenth of a percentage point from 10.1 percent in July. The state’s jobless rate was also 10.2 percent in August a year ago.

The August unemployment rate increased slightly because about 5,500 new job seekers, as well as more of those already unemployed, were unable to find work.

The number of jobs in Georgia increased 7,300 in August to 3,801,000, or two tenths of a percentage point. Most of the gain was among seasonal workers in the public school systems who returned to work after being laid-off for the summer.

Also, some job increases occurred in professional and business services, education and health care, and construction.

“I’m encouraged that we’re seeing an increase in manufacturing, which is very important to the health of our state’s economy,” said Butler. “Despite a drop in the number of manufacturing jobs from July to August, Georgia has gained 2,400 manufacturing jobs in the last twelve months.”

While Georgia had a net increase in jobs, there was a decrease in jobs in the leisure and hospitality industry, especially in accommodations and food services, as well as in wholesale and retail trade.

The number of long-term unemployed workers increased by 3,000 to 254,100. The number of long-term unemployed is 15.5 percent higher than in August of last year. The long-term unemployed account for 52.7 percent of Georgia’s 482,321 jobless workers.

Also, first-time claims for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits in August decreased to 56,476, down 5,094, or 8.3 percent, from 61,570 in July. Most of the first-time claims were filed in manufacturing, administrative and support services, trade, and construction. There was an over-the-year decrease of 13,788 initial claims, or 19.6 percent, from 70,264 filed in August of last year.

August marked the 49th consecutive month Georgia has exceeded the national unemployment rate, which is currently 9.1 percent, unchanged from July.

Preliminary unemployment figures in Effingham County for July 2011 were 8.4 percent, down from June 2011’s revised number of 8.5 percent and down from the July 2010 revised figure of 11.1 percent.

Unemployment throughout the area covered by the Coastal Regional Commission stood at 10.0 percent for July 2011’s preliminary figures. It was at 10 percent for the revised June 2011 figures and at 10.1 percent for the revised July 2010 statistics.

In the Savannah metropolitan statistical area, preliminary unemployment numbers for July 2011 were 9.4 percent, down from the revised June 2011 figure of 9.5 percent and from the revised July 2010 figure of 10.1 percent.

Unemployment remains highest in Jenkins County at 22.3 percent and lowest in Echols at 7 percent.