5:21 am March 18, 2010, by Henry Unger
Georgia’s unemployment rate rose to a record 10.5 percent in February, up from 10.4 percent in January, the state labor department reported Thursday.
The February jobless rate was up 1.8 percentage points from 8.7 percent at this time last year, the labor department said.
For 29 consecutive months, Georgia’s unemployment rate has exceeded the national unemployment rate, which is now 9.7 percent. Metro Atlanta’s rate is 10.8 percent.
The number of jobless workers in the state increased to 496,030, from 488,163 in January.
Statewide, the annual losses came in manufacturing, construction, trade, transportation and utilities, along with professional and business services and financial activities. On a positive note, educational and health services added 5,700 jobs over the year.
Also in February, 66,069 laid-off workers filed initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits, a decrease of 30.6 percent, from January.
The average length of time Georgians drew unemployment benefits increased to a record 16 weeks in February. A year ago, it was 11.7 weeks.
“Record unemployment, half-a-million jobless workers, tens of thousands of lost jobs, tempered only by tepid job growth and lengthening periods of unemployment are stark reminders of the economic challenges that still lie ahead,” said state Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond. “However, the significant decline in February initial unemployment insurance claims suggests that Georgia’s job market may be stabilizing.”
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