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State jobless rate tops 8 percent

POSTED: February 26, 2009 9:47 a.m.
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ATLANTA - The Georgia Department of Labor reported today that the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to a record-high preliminary 8.6 percent in January.
This is the highest seasonally adjusted rate recorded in Georgia since 1976, when the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics standardized unemployment rates among all states.
"We are officially sailing in uncharted economic waters," said State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond. "Georgia is in the midst of a severe economic downturn. Times are difficult, but not hopeless. All Georgians must work together to meet and overcome these unprecedented challenges."
The previous record high was 8.3 percent, recorded in January of 1983. At present, 412,770 unemployed Georgians are looking for work, an increase of 62.9 percent over the year. Of that number, 183,829, or 44.5 percent, are receiving unemployment insurance benefits.
The jobless rate is up 3.4 percentage points from 5.2 percent at this same time last year. The January unemployment rate was up 1.1 percentage points from a revised 7.5 percent in December. Georgia's unemployment rate remained above the national rate of 7.6 percent for the 15th consecutive month.
From January of 2008 to January of 2009, the number of payroll jobs decreased 149,500 or 3.6 percent. Jobs were lost in manufacturing, construction, trade, transportation and warehousing, along with professional and business services, including temporary employment agencies. Jobs were added in education and health services, state and local education, and with the federal government.
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