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Georgia unemployment rate soars to 15-year high

Georgia's unemployment rate jumped to its highest level in 15 years in May, the Georgia Department reports.

The rate rose from 5.3 percent in April to 5.8 percent in May. That's higher than the U.S. jobless rate of 5.5 percent and is the highest rate for Georgia since 1993.

The Labor Department attributed the increase to layoffs in several sectors, most notably manufacturing. The total number of unemployed workers rose from 258,000 in April to nearly 285,000 in May, the highest level ever for the state, the department said.

"Georgia’s May unemployment report confirms that we are facing an increasingly difficult economic environment," Georgia Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond said in a statement.

Job growth has been tailing off in Georgia, with the state gaining only 9,400 jobs in May, according to preliminary data.

The Columbus metro area, however, saw its work force grow from 121,100 to 121,700 last month.

Here are the state's metro areas and their work force changes from April to May:

Albany: Down 200, from 64,800 to 64,600

Athens: Up 100, from 83,100 to 83,200

Atlanta: Up 5,800, from 2,472,900 to 2,478,700

Augusta: Down 700, from 220,200 to 219,500

Columbus: Up 600, from 121,100 to 121,700

Dalton: Up 200, from 77,800 to 78,000

Gainesville: Up 300, from 77,400 to 77,700

Macon: Up 400, from 100,300 to 100,700

Savannah: Up 700, from 162,600 to 163,300

Valdosta: Up 300, from 56,700 to 57,000

Warner Robins: Up 400, from 59,300 to 59,700

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