Unemployment rose in Georgia last month as government job cuts more than offset the gain in private sector jobs.
The Georgia Department of Labor announced today that Georgia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 8.8 percent in July, well above the U.S. jobless rate last month of 7.4 percent. Georgia's unemployment rate was three-tenths of a percentage point higher than the revised 8.5 percent in June, but three-tenths of a percentage point lower than 9.1 percent in July a year ago.
"The rate increased primarily because there was a significant number of new layoffs, and non-contract school employees remained unemployed because of the summer break," Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a statement. "However, the vast majority of the layoffs were temporary, and the school employees are beginning to return to work."
Government shed 17,300 jobs across Georgia during July, but the loss was tempered by a gain of 15,800 jobs in the private sector.
"Georgia's private sector employers have added jobs for six consecutive months," Butler said. "And inside that private sector number, there's more encouraging news. Construction grew more than 4,000 jobs, which is one of the largest over-the-month gains in construction we've seen in a very long time. Most of the construction growth is in the specialty trades, such as electricians and carpenters, which are in-demand occupations."