ALBANY, Ga. -- The Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday the preliminary unadjusted unemployment rate in metro Albany decreased to 10.5 percent in December, down two-tenths of a percent from November.

Meanwhile, the number of unemployed workers in the area decreased to 8,070, down 101 from 8,171. The jobless rate in the metro Albany area in December 2009 was also 10.5 percent.

At the same time, the Labor Department also announced that the preliminary unadjusted unemployment rate in the Southwest Georgia area was unchanged at 10.3 percent from November to December.

The number of unemployed workers in the area increased to 16,973, up from 16,961.

The jobless rate in the Southwest Georgia area in December 2009 was also 10.3 percent. In a county-by-county breakdown of unemployment rates for December, Dougherty was at 11.7 percent, Lee was at 8.2 percent, Worth was at 10.1 percent, Terrell was at 10.2 percent and Baker was at 9.3 percent.

Georgia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 10.2 percent in December, up two-tenths of a percentage point from a revised 10 percent in November. The rate was 10.3 percent in December 2009.

The number of payroll jobs statewide decreased by 21,800, or six-tenths of a percentage point, in November. Most of the decreases came in construction, leisure and hospitality, public schools, professional and business services, and wholesale trade. The number of jobs is at 7,800, or two-tenths of a percentage point, lower than what it was in December 2009.

In metro Albany, the number of payroll jobs increased by 300, from 62,200 in November to 62,500.

Also in December, 1,169 laid-off workers in metro Albany filed initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits, an increase of 188, or 19.2 percent, from November. Statewide, 75,635 laid-off workers filed initial claims for unemployment benefits in December, an increase of 7,921, or 11.7 percent, from the month before. However, there was an over-the-year decrease of 25,261 initial claims, or 25 percent, from what was filed in December 2009.

Most of the first-time claims were filed in manufacturing, trade, construction and administrative and support services.