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Metro Gainesville jobless rate tops 4 percent
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ATLANTA — The nation’s economic woes are trickling down to North Georgia.

The Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday that the unemployment rate in the metro Gainesville area rose to 4.2 percent in January, up six-tenths of one percent from 3.6 percent the previous month.

The rate in the Georgia Mountains area is up by the same percentage to 4.5 percent, while the state’s jobless rate spiked up to 5.2 percent overall.

Georgia’s unemployment rate has risen a full percentage point over the last two months, the first jump that big since November 1991 to January 1992.

"I continue to be concerned by weakness in Georgia’s labor market," state Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond said. "Clearly, the credit crisis and slumping housing sector are negatively impacting the job market. We’re monitoring the situation closely and are prepared to respond."

Georgia’s jobless rate still ranks two-tenths of a percent lower than the U.S. unadjusted rate of 5.4 percent.

The number of Georgians unemployed increased by 27,044 in January, while the number employed declined by 43,975. Labor officials blame the rate bump mainly to across-the-board job losses in manufacturing, construction, trade and services.

For the two-month period December to January, preliminary data show Georgia lost 53,300 payroll jobs, a 1.3 percent decline. In metro Gainesville, the number of jobs was down 1,400, or 1.8 percent, from 77,900 to 76,500.

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