Metro unemployment rate rises slightly

LAWRENCEVILLE -- The unemployment rate in metro Atlanta ticked up slightly in May, according to figures released Thursday by the Georgia Department of Labor.

The preliminary unadjusted unemployment rate in the metro area increased to 9.7 percent in May, up one-tenth of a percentage point from a revised 9.6 in April, according to a news release from the department.

Although the rate increased, it was slightly lower than the state's May unemployment rate of 9.8 percent.

The metro area's unemployment rate rose primarily because of two reasons, State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said. More than 21,00 new job seekers entered the labor force looking for work, and while about 15,000 of them found a job, about 6,000 did not. Also, Atlanta had a net loss of 900 jobs, as an increase of 1,100 jobs in manufacturing and construction was offset by a loss of 2,000 service-related jobs.

In Gwinnett County, the unemployment rate in May rose two-tenths of a percentage point to 8.8, up from a revised April figure of 8.6 percent. The county's unemployment rate in May 2010 was 8.9 percent.

The unemployment rate in neighboring Barrow County fell one-tenth of a percentage point to 9.4 percent in May, down from a revised 9.5 percent a month earlier. Barrow's unemployment rate was 9.9 percent in May 2010.

Walton County's unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.8 percent. That county's unemployment rate was 9.6 percent in May 2010.