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Jobless rate back up to 7.5 percent in metro Gainesville
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The unemployment rate in metro Gainesville rose to 7.5 percent in January, up three-tenths of a percentage point from 7.2 percent in December, the Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday.

The area’s jobless rate was 8.0 percent in January 2012.

The rate rose because of two primary factors: a loss of seasonal jobs and an increase in new layoffs, represented by initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits.

The number of jobs declined by 1,500, or 2 percent, from 75,200 in December to 73,700 in January. However, metro Gainesville, which includes all of Hall County, started the year with 600 more jobs in January than a year ago. Over the year, jobs were up by eight-tenths of a percentage point, from 73,100 in January 2012. Job increases came mostly in trade, transportation and warehousing.

The number of initial claims, tied to many of the seasonal layoffs, rose by 539, or 68.2 percent, from 790 to 1,329. Most of the claims were filed in construction, manufacturing, trade, transportation and warehousing, and administrative and support services.

Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for January was 8.7 percent, unchanged from December. The rate was 9.3 percent in January a year ago.

The jobless rate in the Georgia Mountains region rose to 8.0 percent in January, up four-tenths of a percentage point from 7.6 percent in December. The rate was 8.5 percent in January 2012.

Statewide, metro Athens had the lowest area jobless rate at 6.6 percent, while metro Dalton and the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 11.9 percent.

Georgia labor market data are available at www.dol.state.ga.us.

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