Unemployment up in Albany

ALBANY -- The Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday that the preliminary unadjusted unemployment rate in metro Albany rose to 10.6 percent in May, up three-tenths of a percentage point from a revised 10.3 percent in April.

Meanwhile, the number of unemployed workers in the metropolitan area increased to 8,147, up 211 from 7,936 in April.

The Labor Department also reported that the preliminary unadjusted unemployment rate in the Southwest Georgia area was unchanged at 10.3 percent from April to May. The number of unemployed workers in the area increased to 16,991, up 137, from 16,854 in April.

The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined to 10.2 percent in May, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous month. The jobless rate remains seven-tenths of a percentage point higher than the 9.5 percent reported at this time last year.

This is the 32nd consecutive month Georgia has exceeded the national unemployment rate, which is now 9.7 percent. The May 2009 jobless rate in metro Albany was 8.7 percent.

"We will not see a significant improvement in Georgia's job market until small businesses begin hiring, which will lay a solid foundation for a sustainable economic recovery," said State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond in a statement.

Metro Albany's job market also showed modest improvement. The number of payroll jobs in the area increased by 100, or two-tenths of a percentage point, from 62,000 in April to 62,100.

Statewide, 57,919 laid-off workers filed initial claims, a decline of 17,517, or 23.2 percent, from 75,436 filed in May 2009. Most of the first-time claims were filed in wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing, construction and administrative and support services.

The state showed a modest increase in new jobs in May for the fourth consecutive month. The number of jobs increased by 24,700, or seven-tenths of a percentage point, from 3,818,700 in April to 3,843,400. However, the number of jobs remains less than in May 2009, when there were 3,911,400 payroll jobs, or 68,000 more, than this year.

In a county-by-county breakdown of unemployment rates from May, Dougherty was at 11.7 percent, Lee was at 7.9 percent, Worth was at 11 percent, Terrell was at 10.8 percent, Baker was at 8.6 percent and Mitchell was at 10.5 percent.