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More layoffs fuel uptick in state jobless rate

LAWRENCEVILLE — Layoffs in retail trade and construction led to a slight increase in the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate last month, the state Department of Labor announced Thursday.

Georgia’s jobless rate in August was 10 percent, up one-tenth of a percentage point from a revised 9.9 percent in July. August was the 35th consecutive month that Georgia exceeded the national unemployment rate, which is currently 9.6 percent.

Preliminary figures show the unemployment rates in metro Atlanta and Gwinnett and Barrow counties are also up.

In the metro Atlanta area, unemployment increased to 10.4 percent in August, up three-tenths of a percentage point from a revised 10.1 percent in July.

Gwinnett’s unemployment rate rose to 9.3 percent in August, up three-tenths of a percentage point from July’s revised figure of 9.1 percent Neighboring Barrow County’s unemployment rate also increased, rising from 9.9 percent in July to 10.3 percent in August.

“Georgia’s job market is stagnant and almost one-half of jobless Georgians have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer,” State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond said. “Many employers are reluctant to hire because of the costs and risks associated with bringing on new employees.”

To help alleviate their concerns, the state has expanded its Georgia Work$ training initiative, Thurmond said.

“Now, all jobless Georgians, not just unemployment insurance claimants, will be eligible to receive six weeks of on-the-job training from Georgia employers,” he said.

Georgia Work$ is designed to stimulate job creation and hiring. Unemployed job seekers who register with the Department of Labor may receive training from participating employers and up to $600 in stipends to offset training related expenses, such as transportation and child care.

Additional information is available at www.dol.state.ga.us, any Department of Labor career center or by calling 877-967-5709.