ATLANTA - The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) reported Thursday that the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 9.3% in February, the highest rate ever recorded in Georgia. The previous high was a revised 8.5% in January.
"For the second consecutive month Georgia suffered from record unemployment," said State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond. "Times are difficult, but not hopeless. I encourage all Georgians to keep the faith. Don't give in, don't give up, and don't give out."
The February jobless rate was up 3.9% from 5.4% at this same time last year. Georgia's unemployment rate remained above the national rate of 8.1% for the 16th consecutive month.
At present, 445,498 unemployed Georgians are looking for work, an increase of 69.2% over the year. Of that number, 159,359, or 35.8%, are receiving unemployment insurance benefits.
The number of payroll jobs in February decreased 189,800, or 4.6%, from February 2008. The losses came in manufacturing and construction, trade, transportation and warehousing, along with professional and business services, including temporary employment agencies. Jobs were added in educational and health services, state and local education, and with the federal government.
Commissioner Thurmond urged jobseekers to expand their job searches, explore new training and educational opportunities and to make full use of the reemployment services at the department's 53 career centers around the state. Each month, through its reemployment program, the department helps about 24,000 jobseekers find work. The locations of the career centers and Georgia labor market data are available at www.dol.state.ga.us.
Tables and graphs of market data: http://www.dol.state.ga.us/pr/current_data.htm.