Georgia unemployment rate unchanged at 10 percent in September

Georgia’s unemployment rate held steady in September at 10 percent, although the number of jobs in the state dipped slightly, the Georgia Department of Labor reported today.

The current jobless rate, unchanged from August, marks the 36th month a row it has been worse than the nation as a whole. The U.S. rate now is 9.6 percent.

Payroll jobs in Georgia last month were down by 7,600 from August, the department said. Compared to September a year ago, there were 22,400 more jobs in the state, although the unemployment rate was 10.1 percent.

“Our state’s job market remains weak and employers have not resumed hiring at a pace necessary for recovery,” Georgia Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond said in a statement. “Employers are hesitant to commit to the financial risks associated with hiring and training new employees in an uncertain economy.”

Thurmond said the Georgia Work$ program, which pairs prospective employees with companies, with training and a monetary stipend in the mix, is a possibility for those now searching for work.

The state’s statistics show that 236,000 Georgians now are considered long-term unemployed, meaning they’ve been without a job for 27 weeks or more. That number is up 66 percent from September a year ago when 142,200 people were in that category.

September unemployment rates for Georgia’s metro areas are expected to be released next week. The Columbus rate in August was 9.7 percent.

Data released today show the number of Columbus residents filing jobless claims for the first time dropped about 8 percent in September. There were 1,028 claims filed last month, 92 fewer than a year ago. Every metro area except Dalton, Hinesville, Savannah and Warner Robins experienced declines.

The Columbus work force, meanwhile, was down 200 jobs in September at 116,300 compared to a year ago. Brunswick, Macon, Gainesville, Athens, Dalton and Warner Robins also lost jobs year over year.