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Jobless rate in metro Gainesville rises to 6.9 percent
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ATLANTA — The preliminary unemployment rate in metro Gainesville rose to 6.9 percent in December, up four-tenths of a percentage point from 6.5 percent in November, Georgia Department of Labor announced today.

The rate was 7.5 percent in December 2011.

The jobless rate rose because of a combination of factors: a slight increase in new layoffs represented by initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits, a loss of jobs and a reduction in the labor force.

There were 173 more new claims for unemployment benefits in construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, and accommodations and food services. While the initial claims were up from November to December, they were down by 237, or 23.1 percent, from 1,027 in December 2011. The decline in claims led to an over-the-year drop in the area’s jobless rate.

The number of jobs declined by 700 to 78,600, from 79,300 in November. The monthly loss was mostly in the service-related industries, such as trade, transportation, and utilities, along with local government. There were 75,900 jobs in December 2011.

The labor force, those employed or actively seeking a job, declined by 456 to 94,385, down from 94,841 in November. There were 91,280 in the labor force in December 2011.

Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 8.6 percent in December, up one-tenth of a percentage point from 8.5 percent in November. The rate was 9.4 percent in December a year ago.

The jobless rate in the Georgia Mountains region was up to 7.6 percent in December, up five-tenths of a percentage point from 7.1 percent in November. The rate was 8.0 percent in December 2011.

Metro Athens had the lowest area jobless rate at 6.6 percent, while the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 11.4 percent.

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