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Metro Savannah jobless rate jumps to 9.8 percent
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ATLANTA—The Georgia Department of Labor reported that the preliminary unadjusted unemployment rate in metro Savannah rose to 9.8 percent in July, up 1.1 percent from a revised 8.7 percent in June. 
The rise in the unemployment rate was due primarily to a temporary layoff in the manufacturing of transportation equipment. Meanwhile, the number of unemployed workers in the metro area increased to 17,430, up 2,111 from 15,319. 
Unemployment in Effingham County was at 10.7 percent for July.
The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined slightly to 9.9 percent in July, down one-tenth of a percentage point from a revised 10.0 percent in June. This is the 34th consecutive month Georgia has exceeded the national unemployment rate, which is currently 9.5 percent. The jobless rate in metro Savannah in July 2009 was 9.6 percent. 
The slight dip in the state’s unemployment rate was primarily the result of the labor force shrinking by 21,043 from June to July, as long-term unemployed workers became discouraged and gave up their job search. Coupled with the increase of 19,026 discouraged workers in June, Georgia’s labor force has deteriorated by more than 40,000 during the past two months. 
This is the first time since 2001 that Georgia has experienced significant reductions in the labor force for two consecutive months. 
The number of payroll jobs in July decreased 21,600, or six-tenths of a percentage point, from 3,827,200 in June to 3,805,600. And, the number of jobs remains less than in July 2009, when there were 3,836,000 payroll jobs, eight-tenths of a percentage point, or 30,400 more than this year. In metro Savannah, the number of payroll jobs decreased 100, from 151,600 in June to 151,500. 
Also in July, 3,286 laid-off workers in metro Savannah filed initial claims for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, an increase of 1,162, or 54.7 percent, from 2,124 in June. Statewide, 68,089 laid-off workers filed initial claims for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits in July, an increase of 3,295, or 5.1 percent, from 64,794 in June. 
However, there was a decline of 25,899 initial claims, or 27.6 percent, from 93,988 filed in July 2009. Most of the first-time claims were filed in manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, administrative and support services, and construction. 
Echols County, at 6.4 percent, had the lowest unemployment rate in the state for July. Jenkins and Hancock counties, at 19.8, had the highest jobless rates.