State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said recently that Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 9.9 percent in June, up one-tenth of a percentage point from a revised 9.8 percent in May. The state’s jobless rate was 10 percent in June a year ago.
Gordon County’s unemployment percentage stands at 11.2 percent for June, some of the highest numbers in the region, according to the GDOL.
The Northwest Georgia unemployment numbers have hit their biggest spike in months, to 10.7 percent, which exceeds the national average.
Local business leaders realize the strain Gordon County is under due to unemployment.
“You’re not out of this tough economy until people have jobs to do,” said Al Edwards of Greater Community Bank of Calhoun..
“There’s people who, through no fault of their own, don’t have jobs… “ he said. “There are thousands in Gordon County, and millions nationwide.”
“When you got that big a number unemployed, you got a big problem.”
“The (state) unemployment rate inched up slightly because of normal seasonal factors, primarily involving the end of the school year,” said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “Non-contract school workers, such as bus drivers, lunchroom and janitorial workers, are usually laid-off during the summer school break. Also, new graduates began searching for jobs and are counted as unemployed while doing so. While we lost some seasonal jobs, we had another increase in the number of construction jobs, which is the industry I believe will lead us into a sustained recovery.”
According to the GDOL, June marked the 47th consecutive month Georgia has exceeded the national unemployment rate, which is currently 9.1 percent, up from 9.0 percent in April.
According to the Georgia Department of Labor’s website:
“The loss of 12,400 seasonal jobs in state and local public school systems accounted for the bulk of the 14,600 payroll jobs lost throughout the state. There were 3,818,600 jobs in June, down four-tenths of a percentage point, from 3,833,200 in May.”
According to the GDOL, there were increases of 2,900 construction jobs and 2,400 in the service industries, which helped offset the losses in school systems.
There are 20,600, or five-tenths of a percentage point, fewer jobs than in June of last year. Most of the jobs lost over the year were in government, construction, and financial services, according to the GDOL.
“The number of long-term unemployed workers declined for the fourth consecutive month. There were 250,500 long-term unemployed Georgians in June, down 1,300, or five-tenths of a percentage point, from 251,800 in May.”
However, the number of long-term unemployed remains 8.9 percent higher than the 230,000 in June of last year. The long-term unemployed account for 53.6 percent of Georgia’s 467,454 jobless workers.
Fraudulent unemployment claims plague Georgia
Unemployment numbers are higher in Georgia than the already record-high national average, but is this due in part to fraudulent unemployment claims?
Officials from the Georgia Department of Labor are saying that unemployment fraud may have cost the state nearly $5 million in 2010.
“In 2009, the Georgia Department of Labor detected 795 cases of unemployment fraud,” said Director of Communications for the Georgia Department of Labor Sam Hall. “In 2010, we detected 2,278 cases, and in 2011 we have detected 1087 cases through May, totaling approximately $9.3 million.”
“In the same period of time, we have recovered approximately $3.8 million. In many of the cases detected, the people involved are repaying the money in installments,” he said, “which means much more will be collected, but won't be reflected as collected until they've been received by us. In those same years, 654 warrants for arrest and prosecution were issued.”