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Metro unemployment rate inches upward

Photo by Heather Meadows

Photo by Heather Meadows

ALBANY, Ga. -- While the figures on latest local umemployment appear bleak, they aren't much worse compared to other areas of the state.

Metropolitan and regional numbers released by the Georgia Department of Labor Thursday indicate that the preliminary unadjusted unemployment rate in metro Albany increased to 10.8 percent in August, up one-tenth of a percentage point from the 10.7 percent rate in July.

The jobless rate in metro Albany in August a year ago was 11.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the preliminary unadjusted unemployment rate in the Southwest Georgia area increased to 10.4 percent in August, up one-tenth of a percentage point from 10.3 percent in July. The jobless rate in the area at the same time a year ago was 10.7 percent.

"The local market remains stagnant with not much movement, and that's a trend that we see in most of Georgia," said Aaron Johnson, assistant professor of economics at Darton College. "This can be attributed to overall uncertainty over the economy. While we can take some solace that we didn't see further deterioration in the local job market, we need to see positive job growth before we see improvement in the unemployment rate.

"I believe most of our prospects are tied to the state. As long as the employment growth in Georgia continues to be subdued, it will be difficult to maintain the momentum that we were starting to show previously."

The rates increased because there were layoffs in manufacturing, retail trade and administrative and support services, state Labor Department officials said.

In a county-by-county breakdown of unemployment rates for August, Dougherty was at 12.1 percent, Lee was at 7.7 percent, Worth was at 10.5 percent, Terrell was at 11.4 percent and Baker was at 9.8 percent.

The lowest metro area rates, at 7.8 percent, were recorded in Athens and Warner Robins; while the highest, at 12.1 percent, was in metro Dalton.

When broken down by region, the Georgia Mountains area had the lowest rate at 9.1 percent. The highest regional rate, at 12.7 percent, was recorded in the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha area near Dublin.

Georgia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 10.2 percent in August, up one-tenth of a percentage point from July. The state's jobless rate was also 10.2 percent in August 2010.

The increase is because about 5,500 new job seekers, as well as more of those already unemployed, were unable to find work, Labor Department officials have said.

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