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Grads push up jobless rate; county matches state, beats metro
by Noreen Cochran
July 01, 2014 03:25 PM | 1306 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 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.

Henry County’s rate is 7.2, matching the state rate and coming in slightly under the metro area. It is nearly a full point under the May 2013 rate of 8.1 percent but up from last month’s 6.6 percent.

In Stockbridge, the new rate is 9.4 percent, six-tenths of a percentage point lower than the May 2013 rate of 10 percent but a half-point higher than last month’s 8.9.

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.”

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.”

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

Henry County, which saw a reduction of nearly 20 workers in April – and 300 the previous month – gained more than 800 in May.

Stockbridge added more than 50 residents to its workforce in April, about the same as in March, but then beefed up its ranks by 84 workers in May.

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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