Metro Albany unemployment rate jumps

ALBANY, Ga. -- This holiday season might be a rough one for Albanians.

The Georgia Department of Labor reported Wednesday that the preliminary unadjusted unemployment rate in the metro Albany area increased to 10.8 percent in November.

This is an increase of seven-tenths of a percentage point from October. Over the month, the number of unemployed workers in the area increased from 7,628 to 8,233. The jobless rate in the area a year ago was 10.2 percent.

In November, 981 laid-off workers in metro Albany filed initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits, a decrease of 98, or 9.1 percent, from October.

The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 10.1 percent in November, up three-tenths of a percentage point from October's rate. This is the 38th consecutive month Georgia has been above the national rate, which is currently 9.8 percent.

State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond announced earlier in the week that the Labor Department is currently processing extended benefit claims for unemployed Georgians who will qualify under the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 -- which was enacted Friday.

The new legislation expands the extended benefits claim period through Dec. 31 of next year. The bill does not, however, provide additional benefits beyond 99 weeks.

"These additional resources will help qualified jobseekers provide food, clothing and shelter while they seek employment," Thurmond said in a statement. "I'm pleased that the approval came in time for the holidays."

Labor Department officials are identifying individuals who potentially meet the eligibility requirements as outlined in the legislation. These individuals will be notified by mail.