Jobless rate inches up in May

ALBANY, Ga. — While most of the labor force available in May found work during the month, those who didn’t, coupled with new layoffs, caused the metro Albany area’s unemployment rate to climb by one-tenth of 1 percent.

According to the Georgia Department of Labor, the preliminary unemployment rate in metro Albany rose to 9.5 percent in May, up one-tenth of a percentage point from 9.4 percent in April. The rate was 10.1 percent in May 2011.

According to a GDOL press release, the increase came because the labor force grew by 2,172 job seekers, and while most found jobs within the month, 292 did not. That, coupled with 92 new layoffs in construction, wholesale trade, administrative and support services, and accommodations and food services, drove the rate up.

Word of the unemployment uptick comes on the heels of word of two Albany business expansions.

The first, an expansion of a warehouse operation by Hazmat packaging manufacturer C.L. Smith, came Wednesday. The company said the expansion will allow it to better serve the needs of its customers in the Southeastern U.S.

The second will come with an announcement from the Albany Dougherty Economic Development Commission Monday. The EDC will announce the arrival of a new company at 8:30 a.m. Monday at the Kirkland Center on the campus of Albany Technical College.

Terrell County’s rate remains the highest in the four-county metropolitan statistical area at 10.7 percent. Lee County was the lowest at 7.2 percent, which is below state and national averages.

Worth County was listed at 8.6 percent, Baker County at 8.7 percent, Calhoun County at 9.9 percent and Dougherty County at 10.6 percent.

According to GDOL, metro Albany jobs rose to 60,600 in May, up by 1,300 over the month, but down by 200 over the year.

Metro Athens had the lowest jobless rate at 6.5 percent, while metro Dalton had the highest at 11.4 percent. Athens has had the lowest area rate, or tied for the lowest, each month since December 2009. Dalton has had the highest area rate since August 2011.

Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.9 percent from April to May. The jobless rate was 9.8 percent in May a year ago.

The number of jobs in the state grew to 3,944,900 in May, up by 16,400 from April and by 34,000 from May a year ago.