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Jobless rate of 10.7 percent unchanged

ALBANY, Ga. — The Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday that the preliminary unadjusted unemployment rate in metro Albany was unchanged at 10.7 percent from June to July.

The preliminary June rate for Albany was 10.8 percent, but later revised down by one-tenth of a percentage point. The jobless rate in metro Albany in July a year ago was 11.2 percent.

The Labor Department also reported Thursday that the preliminary unadjusted unemployment rate in the Southwest Georgia area decreased to 10.4 percent in July, down from 10.5 percent in June.

The preliminary June rate for Southwest Georgia was 10.6 percent, but later revised downward by one-tenth of a percentage point. The jobless rate in the area in July 2010 was 10.7 percent.

“While there was no change in the unemployment rate, it should be noted that we did lose 1,000 jobs from the previous month,” said Aaron Johnson, assistant professor of economics at Darton College. “We didn’t see the unemployment rate increase because we saw people drop out of the labor force.

“Referring back to the job losses, some of that can be explained by seasonal factors, given our significant presence in education. However, we also saw declines beyond state and local government with the private sector service providing industries witnessing a decline of 700 jobs. Even though that does not sound good, it should be emphasized that we still have 1,200 more jobs than the previous year, which has only been exceeded by Athens.”

In a July county-by-county unemployment rate breakdown, Dougherty was at 12 percent, Lee was at 7.8 percent, Worth was at 10.3 percent, Terrell was at 10.4 and Baker was at 9.6 percent.

The lowest metropolitan area rates in Georgia for July, at 7.9 percent, were recorded in Athens and Warner Robins. The highest metro rate was in the Dalton area at 12.5 percent. By region, the Georgia Mountains area had the lowest jobless rate at 9.1 percent while the highest, at 12.8 percent, was recorded in the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha area near Dublin.

Meanwhile, Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 10.1 percent in July, up from 9.9 percent in June. The state’s jobless rate was also 10.1 percent in July 2010.

The July increase, as in June, was due primarily to the traditional seasonal layoffs with about 80 percent of them in state and local education, Labor Department officials said.

July marked the 48th consecutive month Georgia has exceeded the national unemployment rate, which is currently 9.1 percent.

“As we look to the future, we have seen gas prices fall, so that’s something positive to focus on,” Johnson said. “If that continues, then that should lead to more consumer spending and a slightly better job picture for the second half of the year.”