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Metro Gainesville unemployment rate holds steady
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The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.9 percent in May in the metro Gainesville area, according to data released Thursday by the Georgia Department of Labor.

Meanwhile, the number of unemployed workers in the area, which includes all of Hall County, increased to 7,769, up 16 from 7,753 in April.

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined to 10.2 percent in May, down one-tenth of a percentage point from a revised 10.3 percent in April. The rate remains seven-tenths of a percentage point higher than the 9.5 percent at this same time last year.

It marks the 32nd consecutive month Georgia has exceeded the national jobless rate, now 9.7 percent.

During May, 929 laid-off workers in metro Gainesville filed initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits, a decrease of 559, or 37.6 percent, from 1,488 filed in May 2009.

Statewide, 57,919 laid-off workers filed initial claims, a decline of 17,517, or 23.2 percent, from 75,436 filed in May 2009.

Most of the first-time claims were filed in wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing, construction and administrative and support services.

“We will not see a significant improvement in Georgia’s job market until small businesses begin hiring, which will lay a solid foundation for a sustainable economic recovery,” State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond said.

Metro Gainesville’s job market also showed a modest improvement for the second consecutive month. The number of payroll jobs in the metro area increased 1,000, or 1.4 percentage points, from 70,300 in April to 71,300.

The state showed a modest increase in new jobs in May for the fourth consecutive month. The number of jobs increased 24,700, or seven-tenths of a percentage point, from 3,818,700 in April to 3,843,400.

However, the number of jobs remains less than in May 2009, when there were 3,911,400 payroll jobs, 1.7 percent, or 68,000 more than this year.

The jobless rate in the Georgia Mountains region fell one-tenth of a percentage point to 9.0 percent in May.

In metro Atlanta, it rose to 9.9 percent, up from a revised 9.8 percent in April. Labor officials say the number of unemployed workers in the Atlanta area increased to 262,571, up 3,113 from April.

The rate in metro Athens remained unchanged at 7.4 percent.

Local area unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted. Georgia labor market data are available at the Department of Labor website.