4:36 am March 7, 2013, by Henry Unger
The stock market may be rocketing to a record high but the job market is still struggling.
Georgia’s unemployment rate did not budge from December to January, stuck at 8.7 percent as employers remained skittish about hiring, the state labor department said Thursday.
There was a loss of 47,700 mostly seasonal jobs and a rise in initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits, the labor department said. But the increases were not enough to change the unemployment rate.
The number of first-time claims for jobless benefits, resulting from layoffs in January, rose by 20,669 from December. The increase was mostly from seasonal layoffs in manufacturing, administrative and support services, construction and retail trade.
There has been an improvement in the job market from a year ago, when the unemployment rate was 9.3 percent.
“We start the year with 79,600 more jobs in January than we had in the same period a year ago,” state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a statement.
Most of the yearly job growth came in professional and business services — 25,500; leisure and hospitality — 21,300; education and health care — 16,100; trade, transportation, and warehousing — 13,000; and manufacturing — 5,800.
Georgia’s labor force — those working as well as those looking for work — grew by 15,704 in January, reaching 4,846,362. That was the highest level since July 2008.
The number of long-term unemployed workers — those out of work for more than 26 weeks — declined by 3,700 to 191,300 in January. That was the lowest level in 35 months. The long-term unemployed now make up 45.2 percent of those unemployed in Georgia.
The state’s jobless rate remains considerably above the 7.9 percent national rate, which will be updated for February on Friday.
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