Georgia’s unemployment rate rose to 8.8 percent in July from a revised 8.5 percent in June, as summer layoffs continued to plague the struggling job market more than four years after the recession officially ended.
“The rate increased primarily because there was a significant number of new layoffs, and non-contract school employees remained unemployed because of the summer break,” state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a statement Thursday. “However, the vast majority of the layoffs were temporary, and the school employees are beginning to return to work.”
The number of new claims for unemployment benefits rose 14,329 from June. About 11,000 of the new claims represented temporary layoffs, primarily in manufacturing and administrative and support services, while others were in trade and construction.
The state’s jobless rate continues to significantly trail the national rate, currrently 7.4 percent.
There were 4,042,900 jobs in Georgia in July — down 1,500 from June. Government shed 17,300 jobs, but the overall loss was reduced by a gain of 15,800 jobs in the private sector.
“Georgia’s private sector employers have added jobs for six consecutive months,” Butler said. “And inside that private sector number, there’s more encouraging news. Construction grew more than 4,000 jobs, which is one of the largest over-the-month gains in construction we’ve seen in a very long time. Most of the construction growth is in the specialty trades, such as electricians and carpenters, which are in-demand occupations.”
In addition to construction, there were gains were in trade and transportation — 5,000 jobs; manufacturing — 2,400; leisure and hospitality — 1,800; education and health services — 1,500; professional and business services — 900; and information services — 600.
Georgia has gained 113,200 jobs, or 2.9%, since July 2012 when the unemployment rate was 9.1 percent.
The total labor force — the number of people employed plus those unemployed but actively looking for work — declined by 3,182 to reach 4,813,710 in July.
The number of long-term unemployed workers — those jobless for more than 26 weeks — dropped to 179,900 from 181,200 in June.