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Region's jobless rate down

ALBANY, Ga. -- The Georgia Department of Labor reported Wednesday that the preliminary unadjusted unemployment rate in the Southwest Georgia area had decreased to 9.7 percent in October, down two-tenths of a percentage point from a revised 9.9 percent in September.

Meanwhile, the number of unemployed workers in the area decreased from 16,340 to 16,015. The jobless rate in the Southwest Georgia area in October 2009 was 10.2 percent.

In metro Albany, unemployment decreased to 10.2 percent in October, down two-tenths of a percentage point from a revised 10.4 percent in September. Meanwhile, the number of unemployed workers in the area decreased to 7,697, down 163 from 7,860. The jobless rate in the

metro Albany area last year was 10.5 percent.

The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged at 9.9 percent from September to October. The preliminary September rate of 10 percent previously reported was revised downward by one-tenth of a percentage point. The rate was 10.2 percent a year before.

This is the 37th consecutive month Georgia has exceeded the national unemployment rate, which is currently 9.6 percent.

Although the state's jobless rate was unchanged, the number of payroll jobs increased by 22,300, or six-tenths of a percentage point, from 3,815,400 in September to 3,837,700 in October. Most of the increases came in retail trade, temporary employment agencies, public and private schools and health care. However, the number of jobs remain at 7,200, or two-tenths of a percentage point, less than in October 2009, when there were 3,844,900 payroll jobs.

Also, 57,494 laid-off workers filed initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits in October, an increase of 348, or six-tenths of a percentage point, from 57,146 in September. However, there was an over-the-year decrease of 13,103 initial claims, or 18.6 percent, from 70,597 filed in October 2009. Most of the first-time claims were filed in manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, administrative and support services and construction.

At the same time, 1,079 laid-off workers in metro Albany filed initial claims for unemployment benefits, an increase of 270, or 33.4 percent, from 809 in September.

In a county by county-by-county breakdown of unemployment rates for October, Dougherty was at 11.2 percent, Worth was at 10.2 percent, Lee was at 7.6 percent, Terrell was at 10.7 percent and Baker was at 9.1 percent.

Sam Hall, communications director with the Labor Department, released an analysis to The Herald Wednesday indicating that the recent decline in the Albany rate is due to a drop in continued claims for telecommunications and health care.

The analysis also said the Albany area gained 200 jobs as non-agricultural unemployment grew. Job gains in private service-providing industries contributed to the over-the-month increase in employment.