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New high for state unemployment

POSTED: March 9, 2010 12:16 p.m.

ATLANTA — The Georgia Department of Labor reported that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 10.4 percent in January, topping the previous record high of 10.3 percent reported in December.

The January jobless rate was up 2.0 percentage points from 8.4 percent at this same time last year.

“Georgia’s unemployment crisis is deepening,” said State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond. “I’m concerned that thousands of pending state government layoffs will further cripple Georgia’s struggling private job market. Our elected leadership must come together to develop a bi-partisan plan that will balance the state budget and jumpstart private sector hiring.”

The national adjusted unemployment rate is 9.7 percent. For 28 consecutive months, Georgia’s unemployment rate has exceeded the national unemployment rate. And, since the recession began in December 2007, Georgia’s workforce has shrunk by 130,043, or 2.7 percent, from 4,832,698 to 4,702,655.

The Savannah metropolitan area lost 3,600 jobs from January 2009, the second-most of any Georgia metropolitan area. The number of jobs losses represents a 2.4 percent decrease from the previous year.

The number of payroll jobs in January decreased 151,600, or 3.9 percent, from January 2009. The metropolitan areas with the highest percentage of job losses during the same period are Dalton, down 4.3 percent; Valdosta, down 4.2 percent; and Atlanta, down 4.0 percent.
The metropolitan areas with the smallest percentage of job losses are Warner Robins, 0.0 percent; Augusta, down 0.4 percent; Hinesville, down 0.5 percent; and Columbus, down 0.9 percent.

Statewide, the over-the-year losses came in manufacturing and construction, trade, transportation and utilities, along with professional and business services.

On a positive note, educational and health services added 6,900 jobs over the year, along with leisure and hospitality which added 800.

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