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Georgia's jobless rate climbs

Photo by Heather Meadows

Photo by Heather Meadows

— Georgia’s unemployment rate rose to 10.3 percent in September — its highest level since January, the state labor department said Thursday.

The September rate was up from 10.2 percent in August and 10.2 percent a year ago, the labor department said.

September is the 50th consecutive month Georgia has exceeded the national unemployment rate, which is currently 9.1 percent.

The rate increased because Georgia lost jobs in September. Also, many new job seekers were unable to find work.

The number of jobs in September fell four-tenths of a percentage point from August to 3,793,200, the labor department said. Most of the loss was among seasonal workers in leisure and hospitality.

The number of long-term unemployed workers — those jobless for at least 27 weeks — increased 8.6 percent from a year ago to 256,900. The long-term unemployed account for 52.7 percent of Georgia’s 487,471 jobless workers.

Although the rate increased, state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler pointed to a positive sign.

“One positive is fewer layoffs, which results in a smaller quantity of initial unemployment claims,” Butler said in a statement.

First-time claims for unemployment insurance benefits in September decreased to 51,267, down 9.2 percent from August. Most of the first-time claims were filed in trade, manufacturing, administrative and support services, and construction.

There also was a 10.3 percent decline in first-time claims from September of last year.

The growth areas for jobs last month were in professional and business services, manufacturing, as well in state and local public schools, the labor department said.