Unemployment numbers show big increase in joblessness across area

By: Hope Jensen Email
By: Hope Jensen Email

News 12 First at Five / Thursday, June 21, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The newest unemployment numbers show a sharp increase in joblessness across the area. The numbers from April to May are the first monthly increase so far this year, but experts say this is actually a jump we see every year.

They say there is a reasonable explanation for the big spike this month, but that doesn't change the fact that many people are still job hunting everyday.

Mae Philpot has been looking for a job for the past six months.

"This is my second time within one year," she said. "I'm not giving up, I'm gonna keep going now, I'm on the line now trying to put in the work history now."

She spends her days at the Department of Labor searching for any job she can find.

"It's an eight-hour job for me. They'll tell you, I'll be here from 10 o'clock in the morning until 5 o'clock in the afternoon when they're closing."

So far she's had no luck.

"It is hard. That's the only thing I can say," she said. "Even though I send, fax my resume and cover letter, I'm still not getting an answer back from anybody."

In May, the area's job rate rose eight-tenths of a point to 10 percent. It's the biggest increase we've seen in almost a year, but experts say this is normal.

Mike Armstrong at the Department of Labor tells us, "It happens every year. Maybe not to that extent, it may fluctuate as far as the number, but it happens pretty much every year."

The report states that 1,700 jobs were lost in April, with 1,600 of those belonging to the service industry.

"Layoffs associated with the service industry, which around here would be the Masters, mostly the Masters," Armstrong said.

He said the yearly spike can be explained by the temporary service jobs associated with the Masters, and people like Nikeshio Hammond have dealt with those layoffs firsthand.

"It was fun, but it was like afterwards you was like, I'm back in the world, back to the basics, looking for a job every morning," Hammond said.

Looking for a job with others like Philpot, who's just trying to stay positive.

"There is somebody else out there who is in worse shape than you are. I do have my health and strength. I can keep looking," Philpot said.

For those of you looking for a job, there will be a career fair next Thursday, June 28, at Augusta State University's Christenberry Fieldhouse from 1 to 4 p.m.

Initial report:

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The latest job numbers are in for the Central Savannah River Area and metro Augusta, and unemployment rates are up.

The Georgia Department of Labor says the unemployment rate for the CSRA went up eight-tenths of a percentage point to 10 percent in May. The unemployment rate was at 9.8 percent in May of last year. For metro Augusta, the rate went up from 8.4 to 9 percent in May -- up from 8.8 percent last year.

Georgia’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate stayed steady at 8.9 percent. This is down a little bit over a percentage point from this time last year.

Statewide, metro Athens has the lowest jobless rate at 6.5 percent, while metro Dalton has the highest at 11.4 percent.

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