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Grad rate drives up jobless rate
by Noreen Cochran
June 30, 2014 03:31 PM | 1517 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Georgia Department of Labor announced last week metro Atlanta’s unemployment rate increased to 7.3 percent in May, up eight-tenths of a percentage point from 6.5 percent in April. The rate was 8.0 percent in May a year ago.

The Georgia rate is 7.2; in the U.S., joblessness is at 6.3 percent.

Fulton County’s rate is 8.0, seven-tenths percent higher than the metro and eight-tenths higher than the state. It is under the May 2013 rate of 8.7 percent but higher than last month’s 7.3 percent.

In East Point, the jobless rate is at 11.1, lower than last May’s 12.2 percent but up from 10.2 last month.

Labor department spokesman Sam Hall said the backslide is an annual event.

“While that’s a fairly significant increase in the rate, the reason behind it is really not all bad news,” he said in a statement. “We had a lot of college graduates entering the labor force, looking for a full-time job to kick off their career, and then, of course, you had that seasonal impact of a lot of students, high school and college students, entering the labor force looking for part-time summer jobs.”

About 14,000 residents joined the workforce statewide, bumping up the unemployment rate when they did not get jobs right away.

Fulton, which saw a reduction of 1,100 workers in April – after adding 3,000 in March – gained more than 4,000 in May.

Nearly 70 East Point residents left its workforce in April but 174 joined in May.

Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the same effect is true for the rest of the state.

“The big reason the rate went up was not from job loss. It was actually a lot of individuals going back into the workforce,” he said in a statement. “This typically happens this time of year.”

Hall said graduates should benefit soon from a nearly 100 percent spike in new jobs, beating the 2011, 2012 and 2013 spring influx.

“The metro area of Atlanta gained 19,700 jobs from April to May. The increase is significantly larger than the 10,100 average gain between April and May over the past three years,” he said.

Butler said compared to other Southeastern states, Georgia is second only to Florida in annual job growth.

“If you take a look at us nationally, we rank anywhere from fifth to sixth place,” he said.

Butler said statewide, there were fewer initial claims for unemployment benefits this month, mostly in manufacturing.

“We continue to see new layoffs decrease,” he said. “We had a decrease again last month and over the year we saw new layoffs decrease almost 30 percent.”

But in the metro Atlanta area, claims increased by nearly 1 percent, mostly in accommodations, food service and health care.

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