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State jobless rate dips under 10 percent

POSTED: December 16, 2011 2:11 p.m.

ATLANTA—Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined to 9.9 percent in November, down three-tenths of a percentage point from 10.2 percent in October. The one-month decline is the largest in 34 years. The jobless rate was 10.4 percent in November a year ago.

State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the rate dropped because there was an increase of 22,400 jobs in the state and not all of the growth was tied to holiday hiring.

“We had the best November since 2007 for retail hiring, while seeing gains in the financial and business sectors,” said Butler. “These two sectors have been hit very hard by the recession. This is encouraging news.”

The number of jobs increased six-tenths of a percentage point to 3,838,700 from 3,816,300 in October. In addition to retail, financial and businesses services, there were more jobs in education and health care.

Despite the fact that Georgia has 19,900 fewer jobs than in November of last year, Butler says there in an interesting fact among the new statistics.

“State and local governments have cut 22,500 jobs over the last year, while the private sector has gained 2,600 jobs.” Butler said. “I think its evidence that our state and local leadership is being sensitive to the taxpayer and trying to make government live within its means.”

The private sector growth is primarily in manufacturing and the service-related industries.

The number of first-time claims for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits rose to 57,573, up 1,708, or 3.1 percent, from 55,865 in October. Most of the increase was due to temporary layoffs in several industries, including manufacturing, wholesale trade and services. However, there was an over-the-year decrease of 10,141 initial claims, or 15 percent, from 67,714 filed in November of last year.

The number of long-term unemployed workers decreased 10,400 to 248,900 from October to November. That represents a 1.3 percent decrease from November of last year. The long-term unemployed account for 53.2 percent of Georgia’s 467,722 jobless workers.

November is the 52nd consecutive month Georgia has exceeded the national unemployment rate, which is currently 8.6 percent.
Connect with the state Department of Labor on Facebook, You Tube and Twitter @GeorgiaDOL. You can access all pages via its website at www.dol.state.ga.us.  

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