ATLANTA — State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said Thursday that Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 10.2 percent in December, up two-tenths of a percentage point from a revised 10 percent in November. The preliminary November rate of 10.1 percent reported last month has been revised downward by one-tenth of a percentage point. The rate was 10.3 percent in December 2009. This is the 39th consecutive month Georgia has exceeded the national unemployment rate, which is currently 9.4 percent.
In December, the number of payroll jobs decreased 21,800, or six-tenths of a percentage point, to 3,827,200 from 3,849,000 in November. Most of the decreases came in construction, leisure and hospitality, the public schools, professional and business services, and wholesale trade. And, the number of jobs remains 7,800, or two-tenths of a percentage point, fewer than in December 2009, when there were 3,835,000 payroll jobs.
“The increase in unemployment and job loss in December is continued evidence that Georgia’s job market is fragile,” Butler said. “Sustained improvement will come only when employers begin adding jobs and increase hiring. In the coming months, we will work closely with Georgia’s employers, private and public sector economic developers, and the General Assembly to spur existing business expansion and to attract new industry to our state.”
There were 259,200 long-term unemployed Georgians in December (those who have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer). This represents an increase of 7,000, or 2.8 percent, from 252,200 long-term unemployed in November and an increase of 91,000, or 54.1 percent, from 168,200 in December 2009. The long-term unemployed now account for 54.1 percent of the 478,833 jobless workers in Georgia.
Also, 75,635 laid-off workers filed initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits in December, an increase of 7,921, or 11.7 percent, from 67,714 in November. However, there was an over-the-year decrease of 25,261 initial claims, or 25 percent, from 100,896 filed in December 2009. Most of the first-time claims were filed in manufacturing, trade, construction, and administrative and support services.