Georgia jobless rate rises to 10 percent in August; Georgia Works expands

ATLANTA - The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) reported today that the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose slightly to 10 percent in August, up one-tenth of a percentage point from a revised 9.9 percent in July, primarily because of layoffs in retail trade and construction. The rate was also 10 percent in August 2009. This is the 35th consecutive month Georgia has exceeded the national unemployment rate, which is currently 9.6 percent.

Although the jobless rate rose, the number of payroll jobs increased 17,800, or five-tenths of a percentage point, from 3,802,500 in July to 3,820,300 in August. Still, the number of jobs remains less than in August 2009, when there were 3,847,000 payroll jobs, seven-tenths of a percentage point, or 26,700 more than this year.

"Georgia's job market remains stagnant," said State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond. "Many employers are reluctant to hire because of the costs and risks associated with bringing on new employees. To help alleviate their concerns, we are expanding our Georgia Works training initiative. Effective Monday, Sept. 20, all jobless Georgians, not just unemployment insurance claimants, will be eligible to receive six weeks of on-the-job training from Georgia employers."

Georgia Works (GWS) is a GDOL initiative designed to stimulate job creation and hiring. GWS  allows unemployed job  seekers who register with the GDOL to receive training from  employers and up to $600 in stipends to off-set expenses such as child  care and transportation. Since its inception in 2003, more than 63 percent of GWS participants have obtained work. Additional information about GWS is available at, any GDOL career center, or by calling 1-877-WORKS09.

There were 220,000 long-term unemployed Georgians in August (those who have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer). This represents an increase of 86,900, or 65.3 percent, from 133,100 long-term unemployed in August 2009 and a decrease of 10,100 from July. The long-term unemployed now account for 47.1 percent of the 466,930 jobless workers in Georgia.

Also, 70,264 laid-off workers filed initial claims for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits in August, an increase of 2,175, or 3.2 percent, from 68,089 in July. And, there was also an increase of 395 initial claims, or six-tenths of a percentage point, from 69,869 filed in August 2009. Most of the first-time claims were filed in wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing, administrative and support services, and construction.