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Metro unemployment up

ALBANY, Ga. — The Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday that the preliminary unadjusted unemployment rate in metro Albany had increased to 10.8 percent in September, up one-tenth of a percentage point from a revised 10.7 percent in August.

The jobless rate in metro Albany in September 2010 was at the same level.

The Labor Department also announced Thursday that the preliminary unadjusted unemployment rate in the Southwest Georgia area was unchanged at 10.3 percent from August to September.

“We have lost some of the momentum that we experienced earlier in the year,” said Aaron Johnson, assistant professor of economics at Darton College. “My main focus is on the net job loss figure, rather than the unemployment rate increase. Unlike the trend earlier in the year, our monthly performance lagged behind most of Georgia.

“Hopefully, this was just an anomaly and we can regain the momentum as we head into the new year.”

The preliminary Southwest Georgia rate in August was 10.4 percent, but was revised downward one-tenth of a percentage point. The jobless rate in the Southwest Georgia area in September of last year was also 10.3 percent.

The rate increased because there was a loss of 400 jobs and layoffs in construction, educational services, health care and social assistance as well as accommodation and food services, officials with the Labor Department said.

The lowest metro area rates in Georgia for September, at 8 percent, were recorded in Athens and Warner Robins, while the highest metro rate was in the Dalton area at 12.5 percent.

The highest regional rate, at 12.4 percent, was in the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region while the lowest, at 8.9 percent, was in the Georgia Mountains region.

In a county-by-county breakdown of unemployment rates for September, Dougherty was at 12.3 percent, Worth was 9.3 percent, Lee was 8.1 percent, Terrell was at 11.5 percent and Baker was at 10.3 percent.

Meanwhile, Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 10.3 percent in September, up from 10.2 percent in August. The state’s jobless rate was also 10.2 percent in September a year ago.

The state rate increased because Georgia lost jobs in September and many new job seekers are unable to find work. The number of jobs in Georgia decreased by 15,100, or four-tenths of a percentage point, from August to 3.8 million jobs.

Most of the loss was accounted for among seasonal workers in leisure and hospitality.

Georgia has exceeded the national unemployment rate, which is currently 9.1 percent, for just over four years.