Sluggish recovery heightens jobless rate

Sluggish recovery heightens jobless rate

August 19th, 2011 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

Unemployment in Georgia jumped back into double digits last month while Tennessee's elevated jobless rate failed to follow the nationwide decline in July, according to data released Thursday.

"This was a different kind of recession and it's playing out as a different kind of recovery," University of Tennessee economist Bill Fox said. "Unemployment is remaining stubbornly high and I'm afraid the jobless rate will go down pretty slowly this year."

Despite above-average private-sector job growth in Tennessee over the past year, the state's jobless rate in July was unchanged at 9.8 percent -- 0.7 percent above the U.S. rate. The Volunteer State shed 9,000 government jobs in the past year, including 4,700 census jobs that ended after the 2010 population count.

"Construction and durable goods manufacturing are both showing strong short- and long-term growth which is better than we've seen during the past few years," Tennessee Labor Commissioner Karla Davis said.

Georgia recorded its first July gain in manufacturing jobs in 18 years, adding 1,400 jobs. But Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the number of Georgians at work is still down by 28,400 from a year ago, boosting unemployment in the Peach State to a five-month high of 10.1 percent.

"I believe the recent lack of leadership in Washington is a contributing factor to the overall lack of confidence in the economy," Butler said. "Due to this lack of confidence, we are seeing a business community which is hesitant to make further investments in this economy."