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State’s unemployment rate breaks 10 percent

POSTED: August 20, 2009 10:05 p.m.

ATLANTA — The Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 10.3 percent in July, up two-tenths of a percentage point from a revised 10.1 percent in June.

 “Although layoffs are moderating, nearly a half-million Georgians are officially unemployed,” said State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond. “These jobless workers could comprise a mythical unemployment line that stretches from Dalton to Atlanta, through Macon and down to Valdosta.”

Last month, 493,748 unemployed Georgians were looking for work, an increase of 63.6 percent from July of 2008. Of that number, 163,839, or 33.2 percent, received state unemployment insurance benefits, while approximately 140,000 received federally-funded extended benefits. That brings the total number of UI claimants to 303,839, or 62 percent of the 493,748 unemployed Georgians.

The July jobless rate was up 4.1 percentage points from 6.2 percent at this same time last year. Georgia’s unemployment rate remained above the national rate of 9.4 percent for the 21st consecutive month.

The number of payroll jobs in July decreased 199,400, or 4.9 percent, from July 2008. The over-the-year losses came in manufacturing, trade, transportation and warehousing, professional and business services, including temporary employment agencies, and construction.

On a positive note, health care and private educational services, showed a combined increase of 10,400 jobs, while local and state governmental education added 9,200 more.

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