Fighting Unemployment in the Valley

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by Taylor Barnhill

WTVM Reporter
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July 7, 2008

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WXTX) -- The national unemployment rate has climbed to 5.5 percent and Georgia's is slightly higher at 5.8 percent.

With nearly 8.5 million Americans out of work, what measures are being taken here in the valley to lower the unemployment rate?

News Leader Nine sat down with the manager of the Columbus Career Center to find out and the long lines speak loudly: Georgians need jobs.

Jamie Loyd is the Columbus Career Center Manager. He said, "As the economy is taking some hits, it's having a ripple effect all throughout and its hurting a lot of people."

National Economists can't decide what to call it, but they agree things are bad. David Resler said, "Well I think the economy is slipping ever more into a recession and in fact we may be in one right now."

Economist Rob Wescott disagreed, "In a recession you see job losses of a quarter of a million a month or 300,000 jobs a month something like that. And we are seeing job losses of 65,000 jobs a month."

So what is the city of Columbus doing to try and decrease these unemployment rates?

"One thing we're doing here at the career center is trying to educate the community on all the upcoming jobs in the area," said Loyd.

Loyd said the Columbus Career Center sees nearly 150 people per day, "The trend is not for long-term employment -- I think everyone would still like that -- however, that's not the trend. We see people going in now and changing occupations regularly whether its based on the company moving or down-sizing or its based on people upgrading their skills and moving on to bigger and better things."

With the addition of KIA and other auto suppliers coming to the area, the unemployment rate should start to change.

"Our unemployment rate based on that alone should stabilize or maybe even start decreasing as more opportunities come to our area," Loyd told News Leader Nine.

The main problem in Columbus is that the labor force is growing more rapidly than the job market. Once more auto suppliers set up shop in the area, an estimated 4,900 jobs will open up to those unemployed workers.