Unemployment rates continue to rise

Published 7:50 pm Friday, March 27, 2009

An estimated 12.7 percent of Decatur County’s workforce is now unemployed, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.

An estimated 1,560 persons out of the local workforce of 12,294 people are without a job, according to statistics released Thursday.

Surrounding Georgia counties’ unemployment rates are: Baker, 8.6 percent; Early, 11 percent; Grady, 9.6 percent; Miller, 8.9 percent; Mitchell, 9.2 percent; and Seminole, 11.6 percent.

The unemployment rate in the Southwest Georgia area rose to a preliminary unadjusted rate of 9.3 percent in February, up 3.9 percentage points over the year from February of 2008. The jobless rate in the Southwest Georgia area rose eight-tenths of a percentage point from a revised 8.5 percent in January.

“The latest area unemployment rates reflect the seriousness of the recession in Georgia,” said State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond. “In 87 of our state’s 159 counties, unemployment rates have reached double-digit proportions, with the highest being in Jenkins County at 21.3 percent. I expect the statewide unemployment rate to hit double-digits before the recession ends.”

Meanwhile, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 9.3 percent in February, the second consecutive month of record high unemployment in Georgia. The previous high was a revised 8.5 percent in January.

The February jobless rate was up 3.9 percent from 5.4 percent at this same time last year. Georgia’s unemployment rate remained above the national rate of 8.1 percent for the 16th consecutive month.

At present, 445,498 unemployed Georgians are looking for work, an increase of 69.2 percent over the year. Of that number, 159,359, or 35.8 percent, are receiving unemployment insurance benefits.

In Decatur County, from January to February, the number of people filing for unemployment insurance benefits rose 9.5 percent, increasing by 32 from the 336 reported in January to 368 reported in February.

The February figure is a 204.1 percent increase from unemployment insurance benefits filings one year prior in February of 2008, when 121 people had submitted claims.

The local area unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted. For more information about Georgia labor market data and statistics go to the Georgia Department of Labor’s web site, www.dol.state.ga.us

For information about job opportunities, visit the Bainbridge Career Center, located at 310 S. Scott St., or call (229) 248-2681.