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State jobless rate up to 8.6 percent

SPECIAL TO SEGAZINE

The Georgia Department of Labor announced this week that Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 8.6 percent in June. The rate was up three-tenths of a percentage point from 8.3 percent in May, but it was down five-tenths of a percentage point from 9.1 percent in June a year ago.

“The rate increased primarily because of two factors that occur this time of year,” said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “A large number of education workers are unemployed during the summer and new graduates are considered unemployed until they find a job.”

The seasonal impact on the unemployment rate was compounded because Georgia lost 600 jobs and the number of people in the labor force declined by 1,341.

“There is a silver lining in this new data because this was the best May-to-June job performance we’ve had since 2002, ” Butler continued. “And, if you factor out the loss of 10,000 government jobs and just look at the private sector, we would have actually gained 9,400 jobs last month because our private sector employers continue to hire.”

The number of jobs declined slightly to 4,043,500, down from 4,044,100 in May. State and local government education services lost 12,700 jobs, the most of any sector.  However, some industries added workers. Those increases came in professional and business services, 8,000; leisure and hospitality, 4,000; construction and financial services, 1,700 each; and manufacturing and other services, 1,200 each.

Over the year, the number of jobs increased by 85,200, up 2.2 percent from 3,958,300 in June 2012. The job gains came in professional and business services, 37,700; leisure and hospitality, 19,700; education and health services, 18,600; trade and transportation, 12,300; and construction, 3,700 jobs. Manufacturing lost 900.

While the labor force declined from May to June, it was up 16,092 over the year to 4,817,416, compared to 4,801,324 in June 2012.

The number of layoffs, represented by initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits, declined by 7,105, or 15.2 percent, to 39,777 in June from 46,882 in May. The decreases came mostly in manufacturing, construction, trade, administrative and support services, health care and social assistance, and professional, scientific and technical services. The number of initial claims was also down over the year, declining by 9,102, or 18.6 percent, from 48,879 in June 2012. Most of the over-the-year decreases came in the same industries as the monthly decline.

The number of long-term unemployed workers rose to 181,200, its highest level since February. It was up by 3,600, or 2.0 percent, from 177,600 in May. The long-term unemployed – those out of work for more than 26 weeks – make up 44 percent of all unemployed in Georgia.

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