Unemployment numbers expected to break records - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Unemployment numbers expected to break records

By Laura Ann Sills - email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - WTVM has learned new numbers out Thursday will show one of the highest unemployment rates ever recorded in Georgia. 

"These are tough times, difficult times, but not hopeless times," says Labor Commissioner, Michael Thurmond.

Almost everyone knows about the economic situation.  But, what started it exactly and how did we let it get this far?

President of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, Kelly McCutchen, says, "Banks are not lending money, we've got to do something in GA about providing more capital for businesses." 

Economic Forecaster, Rajeev Dhawan, also believes the large numbers of small and medium sized banks in Georgia who can't make loans to businesses are at the root of the problem.  "We got this chicken and egg problem, you can't invest because you can't get the loan and you can't get the loan because you don't have the intention to invest," says Dhawan.

Others think there is another cause of the recession, "Maybe the recession problem is a redistribution problem and we need to do everything we can to get the right resources in the right place with the right people at the right time," says B.J. Walker.  Walker is the Commissioner of the Department of Human Resources.

Dhawan forecasts that Georgia will see a turnaround by the end of this year, just not as fast as the rest of the nation.

Labor Commissioner, Michael Thurmond, says one of the keys to a quick turnaround is getting the unemployed to re-think their career path.  "The economy will bounce back, but there is no guarantee that the jobs that have been lost will be recreated."

The bulk of jobs lost were in construction and manufacturing, two areas that are dominated by men. Commissioner Thurmond says the employment and training system needs to be revamped to welcome the new unemployed demographic.

Thurmond says, "It is so atypical, so unusual it caught us off guard. And only in recent months have I began to really understand that the service population, the people coming into the labor department is a very different demographic than what it was previously."

Thurmond plans to focus on re-training and re-inspiring Georgia's work force.        

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