10:56 am January 18, 2010, by Henry Unger
Nearly 600,000 Georgians are unemployed, underemployed or too discouraged to look for work, the state labor department said Monday.
In a new analysis of data released at the Georgia Jobs Summit today, the labor department said 463,000 Georgians are unemployed.
Another 97,800 are underemployed, meaning they want to work full-time, but can only find-part-time jobs. Georgia Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond said this number was “much higher” than he anticipated it would be. In 2008, there were 70,900 underemployed workers and there were 51,200 in 2007.
Finally, there are another 26,700 discouraged residents who have searched for work during the past year, but have given up because of the slim prospects. In 2008, there were 14,000 discouraged workers.
All told, 587,500 Georgians are in one of the three categories in 2009.
“This is a Darwinian economy and a Darwinian job market,” Thurmond told about 160 attendees of the jobs summit at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center.
The immediate forecast is for much of the same, Georgia State University economist Rajeev Dhawan said.
He predicts that job growth in Georgia will begin in the later part of this year, but it will be “anemic.”
By 2011, however, he predicts the state will add 67,100 jobs. That compares with a loss of 214,700 jobs in 2009.
Later today, the summit is scheduled to discuss innovative ideas that could create more jobs in the state.
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