5:09 am August 19, 2010, by Henry Unger
Georgia’s unemployment rate fell slightly to 9.9 percent in July from 10 percent in June, as discouraged workers gave up their job search so they are no longer counted as unemployed, the state labor department reported Thursday.
“Although the unemployment rate remained virtually unchanged, a growing number of discouraged workers dropped out of the workforce,” state Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond said in a statement. “For the second consecutive month, the number of jobs in our state declined, new layoffs increased and long-term unemployment continued to rise.”
There were 230,100 long-term unemployed Georgians in July — those who have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer, the labor department said. This represents an increase of 90 percent from July 2009.
The long-term unemployed now account for 49.8 percent of the 462,372 jobless workers in Georgia. That’s one out of two people searching for a job.
During the past two months, Georgia’s labor force has declined by more than 40,000 as discouraged workers dropped out, the labor department said. This is the first time since 2001 that Georgia has experienced significant reductions in the labor force for two consecutive months.
The number of payroll jobs in July fell six-tenths of a percentage point in July from June, the labor department said.
A total of 68,089 laid-off workers filed initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits in July — an increase of 5.1 percent from June. Most of the first-time claims were filed in manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, administrative and support services, and construction.
This is the 34th consecutive month Georgia has exceeded the national unemployment rate, which is currently at 9.5 percent.
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