Georgia's unemployment up to 10.2 percent

Photo by Iram Ali

Photo by Iram Ali

Georgia's unemployment rate rose to 10.2 percent in December, from a revised 10 percent in November, the state labor department said Thursday.

December was the 39th consecutive month Georgia has exceeded the national unemployment rate, which is 9.4 percent.

"The increase in unemployment and job loss in December is continued evidence that Georgia's job market is fragile," new state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler, who took office earlier this month, said in a statement. "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."

In December, the number of payroll jobs decreased six-tenths of a percentage point from November, and now totals 3,827,200, the labor department said.

The state's long-term unemployment problem keeps getting worse. There were 259,200 Georgians out of work for at least 27 weeks in December -- an increase of 2.8 percent from November and a jump of 54 percent from a year ago.

The long-term unemployed now account for 54.1 percent of the 478,833 jobless workers in Georgia. A year ago, it was 34.9 percent.

A total of 75,635 laid-off workers filed initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits in December -- an increase of 11.7 percent from November.