5:16 am May 20, 2010, by Henry Unger
Georgia’s unemployment rate declined slightly to 10.4 percent in April, but long-term unemployment is becoming a bigger problem, the state Labor Department reported today.
While the unemployment rate declined 0.1 percent from March, the number of unemployed Georgians who have been out of work at least 27 weeks rose to 215,100 in April. That was a 5.1 percent increase from March and a 152 percent surge from April 2009, the Labor Department said.
The long-term unemployed now account for 43 percent of the 489,010 jobless workers in Georgia, according to the Labor Department.
“Although our job market is slowly improving, the continuing increase in the number of long-term unemployed Georgians is troubling,” said state Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond. “The specter of structural unemployment is beginning to cast a long shadow across the American workplace.”
April’s report represents the 31st consecutive month that Georgia has exceeded the national unemployment rate, currently at 9.9 percent.
On the positive side, Georgia’s job market showed a modest improvement for the third consecutive month, the Labor Department said. The number of payroll jobs in April increased 0.7 percent to 3.82 million. But the number of jobs remains 2.3 percent below April 2009
This April, 60,661 laid-off workers filed initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits. That was a decline of 12.4 percent from March.
Most of the first time claims were filed in trade, manufacturing, construction, and administrative and support services, the Labor Department said.
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