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State unemployment rate stays at 8.9 percent

POSTED: June 14, 2012 9:18 p.m.

ATLANTA—State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler announced Thursday that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.9 percent from April to May, the first time in 10 months that the jobless rate has failed to decline. The jobless rate was 9.8 percent in May a year ago.

"Although the unemployment rate held steady, we now have the fewest jobless workers receiving unemployment insurance benefits since the start of the recession in 2007, and the numbers of new layoffs and long-term unemployed are down," said Butler. "And, more good news is that our job growth continues. We added 16,400 new jobs in May, and we have 34,000 more jobs than in May a year ago. Fortunately, the growth is in some of our key industries."

The number of jobs increased to 3,944,900 in May, the most since December 2008. This marked an increase of four-tenths of a percentage point, from 3,928,500 in April and nine-tenths of a percentage point, from 3,910,900 in May of last year.

The industries showing growth from April to May were trade, transportation, and warehousing, 6,000; leisure and hospitality, 5,000; manufacturing, 3,000; education and health care, 2,200; and construction, 800. Government shed 1,300 jobs, mostly in educational services.

Industries showing the most growth since May 2011 were professional and business services, 24,000, and trade, transportation and warehousing, 16,700. The greatest over-the-year loss of jobs came in the construction industry with 7,400, followed by local public education with a loss of 4,200 jobs.

In May, there were 73,621 recipients of unemployment insurance benefits. The number of initial claims filed in May declined by 729, or 1.5 percent, to 46,763. Most of the decrease in claims came across-the-board in trade, services, manufacturing, and construction. Initial claims also declined over the year, down 8,080, or 14.7 percent, from 54,843 in May 2011.

The number of long-term unemployed workers decreased by 3,600 in May to 236,900. The long-term unemployed, those out of work for more than 26 weeks, make up 55.7 percent of all unemployed in Georgia. However, the number of long-term unemployed is down 14,900, or 5.9 percent, from May 2011.

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