Georgia’s unemployment rate at highest May level in 15 years

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June 18, 2008

ATLANTA -- The Georgia Department of Labor reported today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate jumped to 5.8 percent in May, up five-tenths of one percent from 5.3 percent in April. The unemployment rate increased because layoffs in manufacturing and other industries pushed the total number of unemployed workers up from 258,191 in April to 284,816 in May, the highest level ever recorded in Georgia.

The current adjusted state rate, which is three-tenths of one percent higher than the U.S. seasonally-adjusted rate of 5.5 percent, continued to top the national rate for the past four months. The state rate was the highest recorded for the month of May since 1993.

State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond said, “Georgia’s May unemployment report confirms that we are facing an increasingly difficult economic environment. I want all Georgians to know that the Georgia Department of Labor is prepared to help the jobless find employment as quickly as possible.”

The fact that job growth in May failed to keep pace with the number of job seekers looking for work contributed to the increase in the state unemployment rate. Preliminary unadjusted data from April to May show Georgia gained only 9,400 payroll jobs, an increase of two-tenths of one percent. The data includes workers who hold more than one job. The metro areas of the state and their job changes include:

Albany, down 200, or three-tenths of one percent, from 64,800 to 64,600.
Athens, up 100, or one-tenth of one percent, from 83,100 to 83,200.
Atlanta, up 5,800, or two-tenths of one percent, from 2,472,900 to 2,478,700.
Augusta, down 700, or three-tenths of one percent, from 220,200 to 219,500.
Columbus, up 600, or one-half of one percent, from 121,100 to 121,700.
Dalton, up 200, or three-tenths of one percent, from 77,800 to 78,000.
Gainesville, up 300, or four-tenths of one percent, from 77,400 to 77,700.
Macon, up 400, or four-tenths of one percent, from 100,300 to 100,700.
Savannah, up 700, or four-tenths of one percent, from 162,600 to 163,300.
Valdosta, up 300, or one-half of one percent, from 56,700 to 57,000.
Warner Robins, up 400, or seven-tenths of one percent, from 59,300 to 59,700.

Georgia labor market data are not seasonally adjusted and are available at

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