Metro Columbus unemployment rate rises to 9.7 percent in June

The unemployment rate in the metro Columbus area increased in the month of June, the Georgia Department of Labor reported today.

June’s preliminary unemployment rate came in at 9.7 percent, compared to 9.2 percent the month before. The department also said the number of jobless workers in the area rose by 647 to 12,521. At the same time, the number of local unemployed workers who filed initial claims for unemployment benefits jumped 18.4 percent to 1,455 in June.

“This latest federal report further emphasizes the severity of the crisis facing Georgia’s economy, as our job market shows signs of renewed deterioration,” Michael Thurmond, state labor commissioner, said in a statement. “A sharp increase in the number of discouraged workers, rising long-term employment, increased new layoffs and anemic job growth suggests that the fledging economic recovery may be losing steam.”

Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 10 percent in June, down from 10.1 percent in May. This is the 33rd month in a row Georgia has surpassed the national unemployment rate, which is 9.5 percent.

The department also reported the number of payroll jobs in the state decreased 9,400 in June to 3,829,000. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, Georgia has lost more jobs from June 2009 to June 2010 than any other state except California.