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Georgia's unemployment rate rises sharply
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ATLANTA -- The Georgia Department of Labor reported the state's unemployment rate rose to 5.2 percent in January, up six-tenths of a percent from 4.6 percent in December.
The January increase brings the rise over the past two months to a full percentage point.
The last time Georgia experienced a one-point increase in November-January time period was 16 years ago when the rate jumped from 4.3 percent in November of 1991 to 5.3 percent in January of 1992.
"I continue to be concerned by weakness in Georgia's labor market," said state Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond. "Clearly, the credit crisis and slumping housing sector are negatively impacting the job market. We're monitoring the situation closely and are prepared to respond."
The current state rate is two-tenths of one percent lower than the U.S. unadjusted rate of 5.4 percent.
The state's rate increased from December to January because the number of people unemployed increased by 27,044, while the number employed declined by 43,975. This increase in the rate was due mainly to across-the-board job losses in manufacturing, construction, trade, and services.
From December to January, preliminary data show Georgia lost 53,300 payroll jobs, a 1.3 percent decline. The 11 metro areas of the state and their job losses include:
- Albany, down 800, or 1.2 percent, from 64,800 to 64,000.
- Athens, down 2,200, or 2.6 percent, from 84,400 to 82,200.
- Atlanta, down 39,100, or 1.6 percent, from 2,494,600 to 2,455,500.
- Augusta, down 2,500, or 1.1 percent, from 218,800 to 216,300.
- Columbus, down 2,300, or 1.9 percent, from 122,900 to 120,600.  
- Dalton, down 1,400, or 1.8 percent, from 78,400 to 77,000.   
- Gainesville, down 1,400, or 1.8 percent, from 77,900 to 76,500.
- Macon, down 1,200, or 1.2 percent, from 101,100 to 99,900.
- Savannah, down 2,300, or 1.4 percent, from 162,300 to 160,000.
- Valdosta, down 900, or 1.6 percent, from 56,700 to 55,800.
- Warner Robins, down 600, or 1.0 percent, from 59,400 to 58,800.
Effective with January labor market data, the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics has stopped compiling non-farm job data for many of the nation's smallest Metropolitan Statistical Areas because of federal budget cuts. In Georgia, this includes Hinesville. However, unemployment rates and initial claims for these MSAs will continue to be reported.
Georgia labor market data are not seasonally adjusted and are available at
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