Columbus' jobless rate declines to 9.1% in Sept.

ATLANTA - The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) reported today that the preliminary unadjusted unemployment rate in metro Columbus decreased to 9.1 % in September, down five-tenths of a percentage point from a revised 9.6 percent in August.

Meanwhile, the number of unemployed workers in the metro area decreased to 11,599, down 662 from 12,261. The jobless rate in metro Columbus in September 2009 was 9.6 percent.

The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged at 10 percent from August to September.

This was the 36th consecutive month Georgia has exceeded the national unemployment rate, which is currently 9.6 percent.

There were 466,234 jobless Georgians in September, with 50.7 percent being long-term unemployed, out of work 27 weeks or longer.

This was the first time the number of long-term unemployed reached 50 percent. The state's rate was 10.1 percent in September 2009.

Although the state's jobless rate was unchanged, the number of payroll jobs decreased 7,600, or two-tenths of a percentage point, from 3,821,400 in August to 3,813,800 in September.

Also, the number of jobs remains less than in September 2009, when there were 3,836,200 payroll jobs, six-tenths of a percentage point, or 22,400 more than this year.

In metro Columbus, the number of payroll jobs decreased 600, from 116,900 in August to 116300. 

"While the local unemployment rate dropped, the change was primarily dues to people leaving the workforce, often because of their inability to find work, rather than an increase in hiring," said State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond. "Employers are often hesitant to hire in an uncertain economy. Georgia Work$ (GW$), our job creation initiative, is a vital tool available to help employers ensure that they train and recruit the best workers with limited financial risks."

GW$ allows unemployed job seekers who register with the GDOL to receive training from participating employers for 24 hours per week for six weeks.

They will also receive up to $600 in stipends to off-set expenses such as child care and transportation.

There is no cost to employers. Since its inception in 2003, more than 63 percent of GW$ participants have obtained work.

Additional information about GW$ is available at, any GDOL career center, or by calling 1-877-WORKS09.

Also in September, 1,028 laid-off workers in metro Columbus filed initial claims for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, a decrease of 342, or 25 percent, from 1,370 in August.

Statewide, 57,146 laid-off workers filed initial claims for UI benefits in September, a decrease of 13,118, or 18.7 percent, from 70,264 in August. And, there was also a decrease of 9,468 initial claims, or 14.2 percent, from 66,614 filed in September 2009.

Most of the first-time claims were filed in wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing, administrative and support services, and construction.

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Source: Georgia Department of Labor