Georgia’s Unemployment Holds Flat Over Nine Percent

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Georgia’s unemployment continues to hover over nine percent for August, the latest labor report shows. The Georgia Department of Labor’s (GDOL) recent report shows the state’s unemployment is 9.2 percent for August, the same rate as July. A year ago the rate was 9.9. Despite the high rate, State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler is encouraged by the report.

“The unemployment rate has stabilized after two months of increases,”

he said,

“Georgia continues to have respectable job growth, which is a good sign.”

Butler is optimistic, he says, because the August-to-August growth in the last year is the most Georgia has had since 2007.

Jobs rose by 25,100 in August. However, 15,200 of those jobs were workers returning to local public and private schools following seasonal layoffs. The report, though, states some industries have had new growth: Health care and social assistance grew by 4,400; professional and business services by 2,400; manufacturing by 1,600; trade, transportation, and warehousing by 1,500; and construction by 1,000, GDOL says. In a September 13th press release, the governor’s office announced Fram Renewable Fuels will create 80 new jobs in Jeff Davis County with the opening of its second wood plant in Georgia—the other plant is in Appling County. According to the press release, Fram will invest $91 million in the new plant. Another release from the governor’s office today announced plans for Foss Manufacturing to establish a plant in Rome in Floyd County. The release stated that the plant will create 150 new jobs over the next three years.

Notably, before the recession one of Georgia’s biggest industries was construction. In the latest jobs report, though, it had the fewest new jobs, according to the list of industries in the report.

Although the numbers suggest improvement, the fact remains that unemployment in the state has been above nine percent for over a year now, well above the national average, which, for August was 8.1, down from 8.3 in July. According to a recent article, the drop was because many people gave up looking for work, citing that the government only counts people who are actively looking for jobs. This was corroborated by the Wall Street Journal last week as well. The article also points out that unemployment rates increased in 26 states, fell in 12 and remained unchanged in 12 states.

Locally, unemployment in the Northwest Georgia Region, which includes Fannin, Gilmer and Pickens, was 10.1 percent in July 2012, a mere two months ago. By these numbers, the job growth is pallid and underscores the stagnant and continuous recessionary economy. It also calls into question the past three years of Washington’s economic policies. Here, one of the looming threats is the tax increase expected on January first of next year, a result of allowing the Bush-tax cuts to expire. Writing in National Review this month, Keith Hennessy projects Federal taxes will be 10 percent higher than they are today if these cuts are not preserved (or cut further).

As we quickly approach the November election, the economy persists as the main issue on voters’ minds. Republican Presidential Candidate and business man Mitt Romney has made the economy the nucleus of his platform, while President Obama is evasive on the topic and entertains the idea of another stimulus package.

According to a recent Rasmussen poll, 80 percent of voters view the economy as the most important issue of the election. Further, another Rasmussen poll shows 50 percent of voters trust Romney over Obama on economic issues to Obama’s 43 percent.

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