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Effingham jobless rate up slightly from December’s mark

POSTED: March 13, 2014 8:36 p.m.

ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday that the unemployment rate in the Coastal Georgia region increased to 7.5 percent in January, up three-tenths of a percentage point from 7.2 percent in December. The rate was 8.9 percent in January a year ago.

The rate rose primarily because the labor force increased by 3,936 as new job seekers entered the workforce looking for jobs but were unable to find work immediately.

Unemployment in Effingham County rose slightly to 6.2 percent for January from December’s rate of 5.9. Effingham’s unemployment rate for January 2013 was 7.8 percent.

And, the number of new layoffs, represented by initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits, increased to 3,404, up by 224, or 7.0 percent, from 3,180 in December. Most of the increase in claims came in retail trade and administrative and support services. There were 3,357 claims in January 2013.

Metro Savannah’s unemployment rate increased to 6.9 percent in January, up three-tenths of a percentage point from 6.6 percent in December. The rate was 8.4 percent in January a year ago.

The rate rose primarily because the number of jobs in Metro Savannah decreased to 159,900, down by 1,800, or 1.1 percent, from 161,700 in December. Most of the losses came in retail trade (800), professional and business services (800), state government (400), and mining, logging, and construction (200). Some of the losses were offset by small gains in other sectors. Although the metro area lost jobs in January, the loss was considerably less than the average January loss of 3,700 jobs for the last five years.

And, the number of new layoffs, represented by initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits, increased to 2,079, up by 259, or 14.2 percent, from 1,820 in December. Most of the rise in claims came in retail trade, transportation and warehousing, health care and social assistance, and construction. There were 1,795 claims in January 2013.

While the number of jobs declined over the month, it increased by 4,300, or 2.8 percent, since January 2013, when there were 155,600 jobs. Most of the annual gains came in leisure and hospitality (2,200), professional and business services (1,800), and trade, transportation, and warehousing (1,100).

Metro Athens had the lowest area jobless rate at 5.4 percent, while the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 9.8 percent.

Meanwhile, Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for January was 7.3 percent, down from 7.3 percent in December. The rate was 8.6 percent in January a year ago.

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